The Big Conversation
The U.S. Supreme Court handed down two major decisions affecting Texas on Thursday — one a surprise victory for supporters of affirmative action and the other a blow to President Obama’s executive order on immigration.
In the affirmative action case, a white woman had challenged the University of Texas at Austin’s consideration of race in its admissions decisions, charging that she was denied a spot because of her race. As the Tribune’s Matthew Watkins reports, Justice Anthony Kennedy issued a narrow majority opinion that upheld UT-Austin’s process, but seemed to “leave open future challenges” to the system.
But the debate over race and admissions at Texas colleges is not over, add Watkins and the Tribune’s Neena Satija. While the Supreme Court case is now resolved, lawmakers continue to debate the merits of the state’s Top 10 Percent Rule, with “a growing number of state lawmakers ... expressing a desire to tweak or repeal the higher education admissions rule — designed to help black and Hispanic students at poor-performing inner-city high schools — during next year's legislative session.”
The Supreme Court, meanwhile, also broke 4-4 on a challenge to Obama’s immigration plan, which “would've provided relief from deportation and work permits to millions of people,” the Tribune’s Julián Aguilar and Madlin Mekelburg write. Because a lower court previously upheld the decision of a judge in Brownsville to block the program, the plan will not go into effect, although the Court’s decision does not hand down the usual precedent.
Texas was one of the states that sued the federal government over the immigration order. Following word of the deadlock, some undocumented immigrants in Texas criticized the ruling and vowed to continue to push for immigration reform, the Tribune’s Khorri Atkinson writes.
Disclosure: The University of Texas at Austin has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.
Trib Must Reads
Is Julian Castro Experienced Enough To Be VP?, by Patrick Svitek and Abby Livingston — Julián Castro's experience — first as San Antonio mayor, then as U.S. housing secretary — is getting a closer look than ever as Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, zeroes in on a choice for running mate.
Wrongful Convictions Have Cost Texans More Than $93 Million, by Johnathan Silver and Lindsay Carbonell — Texas has paid 101 men and women who were wrongfully sent to prison $93.6 million over the past 25 years, state data shows. The tab stands to grow as those wrongfully imprisoned individuals age and more people join the list.
Analysis: Taking Direct Aim at Legislative Business as Usual, by Ross Ramsey — Maybe the overnight sit-in that captured Washington’s attention will keep gun control in the news. House Democrats' effort fell short, but as Wendy Davis showed three years ago in Texas, the end of the spectacle isn’t necessarily the end of the fight.
Court OKs Limits on Hazlewood Tuition Program, by Jim Malewitz — Texas universities can deny free tuition to veterans who gained state residency only after enlisting in the military, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday, a decision that could ease concerns about a prominent benefit program’s spiraling costs.
Race and UT-Austin Admissions: A Snapshot of the Past Five Years, by Neena Satija and Juan Torres — On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the University of Texas at Austin could continue to consider race as part of its application evaluation process. Here’s a graphical look at that process.
Texas Democrats Ask Feds to Intervene on Therapy Cuts, by Edgar Walters — Three weeks before Texas officials plan to slash funding for a program that pays for speech, physical and occupational therapy for children with disabilities, Democrats in the Texas House are asking the Obama administration to intervene.
(Links below lead to outside websites; content might be behind paywall)
For Obama, Supreme Court Defeat Upends a Legacy on Immigration, The New York Times
Houston leaders decry Supreme Court immigration ruling, Houston Chronicle
S.A. Growth: The Next Million, San Antonio Express-News
HISD sued by group of taxpayers over Confederate school name changes, Houston Chronicle
Radio stations to post political ad info online, Houston Chronicle
Devastated but not defeated, The Dallas Morning News
City may double amount candidates can raise to go with longer terms, Houston Chronicle
Project’s plans call for 60-story tower; would be Austin’s tallest, Austin American-Statesman
Defenders of “God’s Country” signs mobilize in Hondo, San Antonio Express-News
Council approves $17 million contracts for Austin police body cameras, Austin American-Statesman
Now you can remember the Alamo on your car or truck, San Antonio Express-News
Quote to Note
“In the last 24 hours, I’ve eaten two Pop-Tarts and two chocolate doughnuts and a couple of cups of water. I feel incredibly invigorated by all of this.”
— U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-El Paso, following the end of the Democrats’ sit-in at the U.S. House of Representatives called to try to force a vote on gun control legislation
Today in TribTalk
Texans deserve more integrated health care, by Octavio Martinez Jr. and David Lakey — Under the best of circumstances, the implementation of integrated care in Texas will be a long, complicated process. What we need now is the political will and the sense of moral urgency to get us moving.
News From Home
• While several high-profile cases have fueled a national debate on police shootings, there is no comprehensive data on such shootings in Texas. With reader support, we hope to introduce a new layer of transparency here. And you can help. Click here for more information on how to assist in making this project a reality.
Trib Events for the Calendar
• The Texas Tribune Festival on Sept. 23-25 at the University of Texas at Austin