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The Brief: June 29, 2010

With the parties over, it's back to business for the squabblers.

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THE BIG CONVERSATION:

With the parties over, it's back to business for the squabblers.

The first day of post-convention fighting between Gov. Rick Perry and challenger Bill White came as the Supreme Court handed down a decision striking down Chicago's 28-year ban on handguns, effectively ruling that Second Amendment rights apply to every city and state.

The Perry camp went after White's former membership in the United States Conference of Mayors, which last year filed an amicus brief defending the Chicago ban. "Supporting limitations on gun rights is yet another example of how out of touch Bill White is with the people of Texas," Perry campaign spokesman Mark Miner said in a statement. "The Supreme Court’s decision that Second Amendment rights also apply to state and local governments is a defeat for Bill White and others who seek to restrict gun rights."

The White team, largely dodging the attacks, went after Perry for his ties to Mike Toomey, the governor's former chief of staff who last week was revealed to have led an initial push to get the Green Party on the ballot in the fall — with the aim, presumably, of draining votes from Democrats. "The questions Perry needs to answer now are: what did he know, and when did he know it?" said White spokeswoman Katy Bacon in a statement.

Could Perry, who has denied any involvement with Toomey's efforts, gain traction on the gun issue against White? Maybe not. The Supreme Court's ruling, Politico notes, may have in fact neutralized the debate over gun rights for the time being — and Democrats stand to benefit on that front.

Meanwhile, state politicos elsewhere were eager to sing the high court's praises. Texas on the Potomac has the rundown, which includes a statement from U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (for whom Monday marked the first day of the confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan). Cornyn's statement on the court's decision: "I applaud today's Supreme Court decision that ensures every individual in our society has the right to keep and bear a firearm to defend their family and their home. It stands as a timely reminder for what is at stake when considering a nominee to our nation's highest court."

CULLED:

  • It ain't easy being Green — especially when you're embroiled in an increasingly complex political scandal of sorts. The Green Party, which a judge blocked last week from appearing on the fall ballot, is appealing its case to the state Supreme Court.
  • The federal government has fined Texas nearly $4 million for imprecise calculation of food stamp benefits. The state is set to appeal.
  • A state judge ruled Monday that the state cannot keep teachers from giving zeros in the classroom. Some argued that awarding minimum grades — a 50, in most cases — keeps schoolchildren from becoming discouraged.

"Rick Perry has taken credit for everything good that ever happened in Texas. As my mom would have said, 'he's a rooster who crows and thinks he made the sun rise.'" — Cecile Richards, daughter of late Gov. Ann Richards, in a fundraising appeal for Bill White

MUST-READ:

Candidate gunned down in MexicoNew York Times

A year later, Rainbow Lounge is scene of unityFort Worth Star-Telegram

Preservation of UT's history at stake in debate on whether to rename Simkins HallAustin American-Statesman

John Cornyn Seeks to Ban 'Murderabilia' — The Texas Tribune

Fort Worth lawyer played role in 2nd Amendment caseFort Worth Star-Telegram

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