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The Evening Brief: Sept. 10, 2013

Your evening reading: Hecht to replace Jefferson as chief justice of Texas Supreme Court; Cornyn faces pressure over Syria; Stockman says he'll vote for military action if Obama returns Nobel prize

Texas Supreme Court justices listen to the State of the Judiciary speech on February 23, 2011.

New in The Texas Tribune

•    Perry: Hecht Will Replace Jefferson as Chief Justice: "Justice Nathan Hecht will replace Wallace Jefferson as chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court, Gov. Rick Perry said Tuesday. He'll be up for election next year."

•    Battery Thefts Plague Texas Oil and Gas Drillers: "In Texas oilfields, thieves are targeting batteries that power pipeline monitors, saddling drillers with big replacement costs and stalling production. Some fear the temptation to steal will only swell as production expands."

•    Rural Hospitals Wary of Proposed Medicare Cuts: "Small-town hospitals are worried that a federal recommendation to cut costs by re-evaluating which rural hospitals receive higher Medicare reimbursements could threaten their financial security — and even prompt them to shut their doors."

•    Behind Class of '14, Texas' Demographic Future: "The current crop of seniors will likely be among the last not containing a majority of Hispanic students. It will also, based on preliminary enrollment data from the 2012-13 school year, likely be among the last not containing a majority of students from impoverished backgrounds."


•    Pressure grows on Sen. John Cornyn on Syria (The Dallas Morning News): "Sen. Ted Cruz has made clear his unequivocal rejection of military force in Syria. Moments ago on the Senate floor, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky added his voice to the no side. That combination adds pressure on Sen. John Cornyn, the deputy Senate GOP leader, who so far has kept open a narrow sliver of possibility that he might support President Obama’s call for a military strike to punish Syria’s regime for using poison gas against rebels in suburban Damascus."

•    Republican says he'll OK Syria strikes if Obama returns Nobel prize (The Hill): "A Republican lawmaker said he'll vote to authorize military action against Syria if President Obama returns his Nobel Peace Prize. Freshman Tea Party Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas) suggested the swap in a press statement Tuesday ahead of the president's primetime address to sell strikes to a skeptical public. Stockman said Obama must answer 11 questions to gain his support — including whether the president is willing to return his 2009 prize."

•    DCCC chairman calls Rep. Pete Gallego the Texas “front,” shrugs off remap ruling (The Dallas Morning News): "Rep. Steve Israel, the Democrats’ top congressional strategist, today shrugged off last week’s federal court ruling cementing current district boundaries. 'Never worry about what’s out of your control…. The maps in Texas were not in our control,' he said, adding that he still hopes for a more favorable map in future years. In the meantime, he’s much more concerned about ensuring a second term for Rep. Pete Gallego in a West Texas district that was, in 2012, among the most hard-fought in the country."

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