Texas

Ted Cruz 'Honored' To Go Hunting With Steve King

Texas senator and likely 2016 presidential candidate Ted Cruz has made a notable friend in Iowa: Rep. Steve King. The Des Moines Register reports that Cruz has accepted King’s invitation to go pheasant hunting on the opening day of the hunting season next month, and was “honored to have received the invite.”

“Yes, we are confirmed for a hunt with King,” Cruz spokeswoman Catherine Frazier said in an email Friday to the Des Moines Register. “The senator has enjoyed getting to know him and work with him on important issues before Congress. He’s honored to have received the invite.”

Prior to the 2012 Iowa Republican presidential caucuses, King hosted former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum twice for bird hunting at Iowa game preserves and Texas Gov. Rick Perry on one occasion. The Iowa congressman said in an interview on Thursday he hopes to shape the debate for the 2016 GOP presidential contest by serving as a “guardrail of constitutional conservatism.”

Cruz’s proud association with King is another sign that the Texan has no plans to moderate his positions in advance of a presidential run. King earned rebukes from his party leadership last month when he insisted that most young undocumented immigrants are drug runners with “calves the size of cantaloupes because they’ve been hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.” He has also compared immigrants to dogs.

Cruz has been one of the most outspoken opponents of the Senate’s bipartisan immigration proposal.
 

Steve Stockman: We’re Not Shutting Down the Government, We’re Saving America!

Rep. Steve Stockman of Texas has a clever new plan to avert government shutdown. Stockman suggests that the House GOP, rather than threatening to shut down the government if Obamacare remains funded, should instead offer to keep the government open except for funding Obamacare.

If the distinction isn’t clear to you, Stockman tried to clear things up in an appearance yesterday on Newsmax, where he explained, “One of the things that we’re doing wrong is that we’re accepting the argument that when we defund Obamacare, that we’re closing the government down. We’re not! In fact, we’re saving the nation’s future by not funding it.”

Stockman went on to explain that the shift in messaging is necessary because, while Republicans have math on their side, “Democrats will bring out somebody in a wheelchair, and we lose the argument on visuals.”

Beck: San Antonio's Anti-Discrimination Proposal Is Just A Bid By Mayor Julián Castro For Higher Office

On Monday night's broadcast of "The Glenn Beck Program," Beck and John Hagee dedicated a segment to railing against a proposed anti-discrimination ordinance in San Antonio, Texas that the Religious Right is convinced would ban Christians from running for office or in any way working for the government.

It is not true, of course, but Beck returned to the topic again last night when he asserted that the filibuster Texas state Senator Wendy Davis carried out against the radical anti-abortion legislation earlier this summer was nothing more than a stunt designed to raise her profile in order to allow her to run for higher office, just as San Antonio's anti-discrimination proposal is an effort by the city's mayor to become Vice President of the United States.

"In this case," Beck said, "the mayor of San Antonio is a Hispanic and he's trying to show Hillary Clinton and all the other Democrats that he is the perfect running mate in 2016."

Because that makes sense, since presidential candidates frequently tap mayors to serve as their running mates:

Right Wing Round-Up - 7/30/13

  • Steve Benen @ The Maddow Blog: The video Steve King thinks he wants you to see.
  • Jeremy Hooper: Pastor who vowed to punch out pro-gay clergy: I am 'truly sorry.'
  • Media Matters: Meet The Fringe Right-Wing Commentators Who Met With Top Republicans To Push For A Benghazi Special Committee.
  • Joan McCarter @ Daily Kos: New anti-Obamacare campaign: Health insurance is bad.
  • TFN Insider: Alarm Bells Are Ringing: Creationists Get Influential Positions in Texas Science Textbook Review.

Abbott: Obama Administration Voter Protection Violating Rights of Latino Republicans

Texas Attorney General and GOP gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott claims the Obama administration’s lawsuit against a redistricting plan, which a federal court unanimously ruled was designed to deliberately discriminate against Latino voters, is proof that the administration is actually discriminating against Latino Republicans.

With new legal battles heating up between the Justice Department and Texas over redistricting and voter ID laws, Abbott has taken to the Washington Times to argue that the Obama administration seeks to violate “the rights of Hispanic voters who preferred representatives” who are Republicans. “The administration’s approach reveals the Democrats fear that Republican candidates were making inroads with Hispanic voters,” Abbott writes.

While around 1.4 million Texans lack voter ID, Abbott claims that “crying ‘voter suppression’ is nothing but a cynical scare tactic designed to mobilize Democratic partisans, none of whom ever will be prevented from voting by these laws,” adding that “the Obama administration is sowing racial divide to score cheap political points.”

In redistricting, the Obama administration has aligned itself with Democratic state representatives and Democratic members of Congress who already are suing Texas. It is no surprise then that the legal position of President Obama’s attorneys seeks to improve Democratic candidates’ prospects. Of course, Mr. Obama’s attorneys conceal this partisan agenda with lofty rhetoric about minority voting rights. But it is no coincidence that every change to district lines supported by the administration benefits Democrats. Behind the empty allegations of racial discrimination lies one goal — helping Democrats in 2014.

The president’s partisan use of the Voting Rights Act actually hurts many minority voters in Texas. With the administration’s support, redistricting litigation already has unseated Texas state Reps. Jose Aliseda, Raul Torres, Aaron Pena and John Garza, as well as U.S. Rep. Quico Canseco. These representatives — all Republicans — won in 2010 in predominantly Hispanic districts. In 2011, however, the Obama administration and other partisan interest groups succeeded in getting a court to draw district lines so that only a Democrat could win these seats. As a direct result, all of these Republican Hispanic representatives lost their seats in 2012 except for Mr. Aliseda, who chose not to run for re-election. His district had been dismantled altogether at Democrats request.

The administration’s approach reveals the Democrats fear that Republican candidates were making inroads with Hispanic voters. Democrats could never “turn Texas blue” if that trend continued, so they got the courts to draw district lines that guarantee Democratic victory in predominantly Hispanic areas. What about the rights of Hispanic voters who preferred representatives such as Mr. Aliseda, you might ask? They apparently don’t matter to this administration.

Similarly, polling consistently shows that Hispanic Texans strongly support voter-ID requirements, another target of the administration’s litigious political strategy. Electoral fraud harms voters of all races, and voter ID is a simple, nondiscriminatory way to help stop it. Getting an ID is free of charge for any Texan who needs one. Voter-ID laws already have been upheld by the Supreme Court. Crying “voter suppression” is nothing but a cynical scare tactic designed to mobilize Democratic partisans, none of whom ever will be prevented from voting by these laws. The administration’s absurd claim that this common-sense fraud prevention device is actually a racist plot to prevent minorities from voting would be comical if it weren’t so depressing to see an American president stoop to that level.



After the Shelby County decision, the Voting Rights Act still works. It just no longer imposes an onerous and costly preclearance requirement that disrupts the state-federal balance of power enshrined in the Constitution. Instead of allowing the Voting Rights Act to work in a way the Constitution allows, the Obama administration is sowing racial divide to score cheap political points. The president is using the legal system as a sword to wage partisan battles rather than a shield to protect voting rights. This overreaching action undermines the Voting Rights Act and the rule of law. Texas will not tolerate it. So far, neither will the Supreme Court.

PFAW Applauds Holder’s Announcement on Texas Voting Changes

WASHINGTON – In response to Attorney General Eric Holder’s announcement that the Justice Department will ask a federal court in Texas to require the state to obtain federal permission before implementing voting changes, People For the American Way President Michael Keegan released the following statement:

“In the wake of the Shelby County Supreme Court decision which gutted a key provision of the Voting Rights Act, today’s announcement is heartening for those of us who care about protecting access to the ballot box for all.  The Roberts Court decision did not affect the Justice Department’s ability under the VRA to ask a court to require preclearance as necessary for specific jurisdictions, including those that had been automatically covered by the now-defunct congressional formula in Section 4. The safeguard of preclearance is still urgently needed, and Texas’ rush to advance a discriminatory voter ID law just hours after the Supreme Court decision came down is a case in point.  We applaud the Justice Department’s new effort to protect Americans’ fundamental right to cast a ballot. We also continue to urge Congress to adopt a new preclearance formula to restore this important civil rights statute.” 

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Rios: 'Promiscuous Men' like Obama Behind Abortion Rights

Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Dallas spoke about his role in the anti-choice demonstrations in Austin, Texas, yesterday with the American Family Association’s Sandy Rios, who in turn shared with Jeffress the real force behind abortion rights: promiscuous men.

“It is generally, from my opinion, the promiscuous white men who are pushing abortion,” Rios said. “I would even say the promiscuous black ones like our president, oh forgive me I shouldn’t say that, but they’re the ones who want sexual license, they do not want responsibility; abortion has always helped men more than it helps women.”

Jeffress predicted that the Supreme Court might take up a new challenge to Roe and claimed that “Roe v. Wade was the Dred Scott decision of our generation.”

The megachurch pastor maintained that abortion rights opponents will “buy a little more time for our country before God’s judgment” comes to America for decriminalizing abortion, just as God punished Israel and Nazi Germany: “He raised up the Babylonians and the Assyrians to judge Israel for engaging in child sacrifice; he raised up the Allied forces to crush Nazi Germany for taking kids to the gas chambers by the trainloads.”

Deconstructing Ted Cruz’s DC Circuit Grandstanding

The Senate Judiciary Committee today held a hearing for the first of President Obama’s three recent nominees to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, attorney Patricia Ann Millett. Republican committee members, having no actual objections to Millett’s qualifications, used the opportunity to grandstand about what they see as the enormous injustice of a Democratic president nominating people to open seats on the federal judiciary.

Chief among the grandstanders, of course, was Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who spent most of his time telling Millett that Republican opposition to her nomination has nothing to do with her and has everything to do with President Obama’s supposed effort to “pack” the DC Circuit.

Very little of what he said had any basis in reality. He started out by claiming that the DC Circuit is currently “evenly divided” between Democratic and Republican nominees  and that President Obama and Democrats are now trying to “pack the court” with Obama’s nominees:

Right now, the DC Circuit is evenly divided among active judges, with four Republicans and four Democrats. And you find yourself one of three nominees from the president. The president and senior Democrats on this committee have made clear that they want to pick a fight on the DC Circuit. They want to pick a fight on the DC Circuit, and unfortunately I believe part of this pressure, part of the effort of stopping qualified Republican nominees and then deciding to pick a fight now, is a desire to pack the court.

While it’s true that there are currently four Democratic nominees and four Republican nominees in active service on the court, Cruz obscures the fact that the court has an active backbench of six senior judges – five of whom are Republican nominees:

This imbalance exists because Republican presidents have nominated the bulk of DC Circuit judges in the past three decades -- 15 of the last 19 confirmed to the DC Circuit were nominated by Republicans. Far from “packing” the court, President Obama has had fewer judges confirmed to the DC Circuit than any of his four most recent predecessors.

Cruz continued, insisting that President Obama is trying to “pack” the court because it is “holding this administration accountable, and in particular, holding rule-making accountable that has been contrary to federal law”:

The DC Circuit has been a court that has been holding this administration accountable, and in particular, holding rule-making accountable that has been contrary to federal law. And I believe that there is an activist base that is pressuring the president, that has been pressuring senior Senate Democrats to get judicial nominees on the DC Circuit to protect the regulations coming from this administration. And I think any effort to pack the court because the administration doesn’t like the outcomes of judges applying the law fairly should be decried.

What Cruz is referring to is the fact that the D.C. Circuit is currently dominated by right-wing Republican nominees, who have delved into far-right legal theory to strike down common-sense protections for workers, consumers and voters – you can read about some of their most appalling decisions here. President Obama is not trying to “pack” the court to get the decisions that he wants, as Cruz alleges. Instead, he is using his mandate from American voters to pick judges who will restore some ideological balance to one of the farthest-right courts in the country.

Finally, Cruz declares that his objections to Millett have nothing to do with her “very fine professional qualifications” and instead have to do with too much “partisan politics” in judicial confirmations – partisan politics which he seems to have very little interest in putting aside.

Because I think  partisan politics has driven this committee’s approach to the DC Circuit for over a decade. And I think that’s unfortunate, I would rather see a situation where able judges are confirmed irrespective of that. But it is not consistent with our responsibility to let one party prevent qualified judges from going to the court, and at the same time to enable packing the court to reach preferred outcomes. So I thank you for being here, and I think it’s regrettable, the overall context of this dispute, which as I said is irrespective of your very fine professional qualifications.

So, Cruz is refusing to support Millett, who he thinks is unquestionably qualified for the job, for purely political reasons… because he thinks the judicial nominations process has become too politicized.
 

PFAW

Texas Americans for Prosperity Director: Pro-Choice Women Should 'Choose Sterilization'

As Texas lawmakers debate a bill that would shut down most of the state’s abortion providers, Texas Americans for Prosperity state director and GOP activist Peggy Venable yesterday tweeted that pro-choice women should “choose sterilization” as they are “nasty” and “simply should not procreate.” The Texas Freedom Network grabbed the tweet before she took it down:

Venable has since called the tweet a “lame attempt at humor” and apologized.

Thank TX State Sen. Wendy Davis for her Heroic Filibuster Against the War on Women!

Tell Sen. Wendy Davis: Pease keep up the fight. And know that we have your back!

Texas State Senator Compares Himself to Jesus, Condemns 'Anarchy' of Pro-Choice 'Mob'

Texas Republican state senator Dan Patrick is not impressed by Wendy Davis. Despite Davis’ all day filibuster of an anti-choice bill, Patrick thinks he is the one that deserves the praise. Patrick, the sponsor of the bill, told Mike Huckabee today that he urged his fellow Republicans to break Senate tradition and stop the filibuster.

He compared his action to Jesus’ criticism of the Pharisees for placing too much importance on “laws and rules.” Patrick went on to encourage other senators to similarly cast off the law, asking, “Are we going to become the modern day Pharisees as Republicans of the Senate?”

Patrick also criticized the crowd that turned out to support Davis, calling it an “organized mob” carrying out an attack on the government. He blamed their behavior on the fact that they were Democrats, because “a tea party would never do this.”

Wendy Davis and the People’s Filibuster in Texas

Guest post from Robin Lane, alumni board member of affiliate People For the American Way Foundation’s Young People For program.

                Tuesday afternoon in Austin, I arrived at the Capitol and was swallowed in a sea of orange, ready to support Senator Wendy Davis and her filibuster of Senate Bill 5. Sen. Davis began by reading the testimonies of women who would be affected by SB5, limiting abortion rights in Texas, getting so emotional reading one woman’s story that she struggled to continue speaking through her tears. Senators Watson, Van de Putte, and West helped her buy time. We cheered every time we heard someone say, “Parliamentary inquiry, Mr. President.” The filibuster continued late into the evening.

                At 11:30, Sen. Watson had the floor. Sen. West requested that the motion to close the previous question be put into writing, “in as large a font as possible.” I couldn’t breathe. And then, Sen. Van de Putte made the comment that erupted the entire Capitol: “At what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over her male colleagues?”

                Sen. Duncan announced over the noise, “We will have to suspend the vote until the gallery is in order.” The clock ran out. At midnight, the auditorium erupted in cheers. But when all of the Senators remained in front of the podium, the cheers faded. Several news outlets reported that SB5 passed. Conflicting outcomes were coming in droves.

                A large crowd from the auditorium raced upstairs into the rotunda and the sight took my breath away – every inch was packed with people chanting. At around 2:15 AM, we heard a text message sent from Sen. Davis to an ally in the rotunda: Senate Bill 5 was officially dead. There was a request to sing, “The Eyes of Texas,” and the Capitol sang together. Someone raised a Texas flag on the rotunda floor. People were crying.

                I have never been so proud to call myself a Texan.

                Although I didn’t grow up in the Lone Star state, my mother did – and so did my grandmother, and my great-grandfather, and my great-great-grandfather. Texas is in my blood. I came to Texas after leaving the University of Pittsburgh, where I had been organizing for reproductive justice since 2007. I came because I saw so clearly how my issue intersected with the struggles of communities of color, low-income communities, immigrant communities, education justice, LGBTQ rights, environmental justice, and food justice – and I saw Texas as ground-zero for many of these battles. We won the battle, for now, on SB5 – but with Section 4 of the Voting Rights struck down, Texas immediately began advancing a discriminatory redistricting plan. A woman in San Antonio is in deportation proceedings after she took her sick child to the hospital. Senators Cornyn and Cruz continue to fight us on truly inclusive immigration reform. And on Wednesday, Gov. Rick Perry called another special session of the Texas legislature, set for July 1, to act on the sweeping anti-choice proposals.  Yes, we won this battle – but the war continues.

                Still, the victory at the Capitol this week inspired me to keep up the difficult work of organizing in the state of Texas – from now until the next election, and beyond.

PFAW

After Heroic All-Day Filibuster Foils Anti-Choice Bill, TX Gov. Rick Perry Calls ANOTHER Special Session to Continue Attack on Women

It’s been a chaotic week for the Texas legislature, but the drama isn’t over. Following state Senator Wendy Davis’ epic filibuster of a bill that would limit Texas women’s access to abortion, Governor Rick Perry has called yet another special session to push the legislation through.

The bill would ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy – with no exceptions – and would place burdensome requirements on abortion providers, effectively shutting down all but five clinics in the state.

Sen. Davis filibustered the legislation for more than twelve hours and, with the aid of hundreds of protesters, effectively blocked Senate Bill 5 from passing the Senate and reaching the governor’s desk before midnight. Davis was championed around the country as a political celebrity standing, quite literally, for women’s rights. People For the American Way recognized Davis’ efforts, encouraging members to sign a note of appreciation and support.

However, her victory may be short lived.

Perry called the first special session to give the legislature more time to consider anti-choice legislation that failed to advance during the regular legislative period. A special session follows different rules than the normal session, as the governor has sole discretion over what the legislature can work on. Perry said that the legislature also failed to pass bills on infrastructure funding and mandatory life sentences for 17 year-olds committing capital felonies, providing convenient additional justifications for the necessity of a second session. Perry said,

"Texans value life and want to protect women and the unborn. Texans want a transportation system that keeps them moving. Texans want a court system that is fair and just. We will not allow the breakdown of decorum and decency to prevent us from doing what the people of this state hired us to do."

Davis refused to let Perry’s affront go unanswered, firing back that it was Perry and Lt. Gov. Dewhurst who had “led the charge” in the breakdown of decorum and “made a mockery of all of the rules we run by in this state.”

As the New York Times reported yesterday, it is unlikely that the Democrats will manage to block the bill for another 30-day session. It will probably pass. But as the governor can call as many special sessions as he likes, even a successful second filibuster may not be enough to stop the Republicans’ anti-choice agenda.

The second session begins July 1st. The war on women rages on.

PFAW

Heroic Filibuster in TX Stops Sweeping Anti-Choice Bill

A sweeping anti-abortion bill that would have decimated women’s rights in Texas was defeated thanks to Sen. Wendy Davis’s 13-hour filibuster.

Demand Answers from Judge Edith Jones

Investigate reports of bias and racism from a federal judge.

Texas African American Ministers Praise Fifth Circuit Action on Judge’s Racist Comments

HOUSTON -- Texas members of People For the American Way Foundation’s African American Ministers Leadership Council praised a Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals decision last week, made public today, to call for an investigation into comments reportedly made by Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Edith Jones indicating a racial bias in her judging. The Chief Judge of the Fifth Circuit determined that this matter would be more effectively investigated by another circuit’s Judicial Council rather than his (and Judge Jones’s) own.  We learned today that Chief Justice Roberts had selected the D.C. Circuit’s Judicial Council for this task.

Judge Jones reportedly stated at an event at the University of Pennsylvania Law School in February that Black and Latino people are “predisposed to crime” and “prone to commit acts of violence.” In addition, Judge Jones reportedly said that those who receive the death penalty are done a favor and that arguments of mental retardation and systemic racism amount to “red herrings” in capital trials.

Rev. Dr. Rolen Womack of Houston, Co-Chair of the African American Ministers Leadership Council, said:

We commend the Fifth Circuit’s prompt action in requesting the next step of investigating Judge Jones’ alleged remarks and urge the District of Columbia Circuit to conduct a full and fair investigation.

Throughout American history, African Americans have faced systemic discrimination in the courts. To this day, African Americans are more likely to be arrested for certain crimes and face disproportionately harsh sentences, including being more likely to be sentenced to death. This systemic discrimination stems from the very attitude that Judge Jones reportedly put into words: that Black people and other people of color are “predisposed to crime.”

Americans rely on our federal judges to apply the law fairly and without bias. These recent alleged remarks have called Judge Jones’ impartiality into question. We urge the D.C. Circuit’s Judicial Council to promptly begin its investigation to consider whether Judge Jones should continue to serve on the federal bench.


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Cathie Adams Finds Proof Grover Norquist is a Secret Muslim: 'As You See, He Has a Beard'

The Far North Dallas Tea Party posted a video this week of a PowerPoint presentation that Cathie Adams, president of the Texas Eagle Forum, gave recently on “Radical Islam and the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Unsurprisingly, Adams sees the influence of “stealth jihad” everywhere in American society – including in the Republican Party. In her speech, Adams claimed credit for personally bringing down the candidacy of Amir Omar, an Iranian-American Republican who ran for Congress in Texas in 2006. She also railed against former Bush administration official and conservative activist Suhail Khan, wondering, “Where did he come from? How did this man get here? Did he overstay a visa?” (The short answer, if she really wants to know, is that he was born in Colorado, so no.)

But Adams saved her true vitriol for anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist, who has provoked the wrath of anti-Muslim activists for his marriage to a Muslim woman and his efforts to reach out to Muslim conservatives. Adams warned that although “oftentimes we like what he says about economic issues,” Norquist is in fact “Trouble with a capital T” and is “showing signs of converting to Islam himself.”

Her evidence for Norquist’s secret conversion? “As you see, he has a beard.”

Ted Cruz Won't 'Throw Rocks'

Ted Cruz, the junior senator from Texas, has spent his first few months in office making enemies on both sides of the aisle. Perhaps this is because the Tea Party hero employs a potent mix of of sanctimonious rhetoric and hatchet-job politics that led one of his fellow GOP senators to call him “Jim DeMint without the charm.” His particular brand of smarminess was on display, for instance, when he delivered a condescending, elementary school-level lecture about the Constitution to Sen. Dianne Feinstein. Or when he explained that he was for gun sales background checks but opposed a bill to expand them because the very real gun-show loophole “doesn’t exist.” Or when he mocked his Republicans colleagues who did support the background check bill, calling them weak “squishes.”

So it was a treat today to stumble across this interview that Cruz gave earlier this month to Red State, in which he explains that if anybody has a problem with him it’s their own fault because, “When others have chosen to insult me, to throw rocks at me, I have not and will not respond in kind.”

“Washington is a place where people often shy away from speaking the truth,” he explained. “And so my focus will remain on the substance...and I think there’s some that don’t like a consistent and explicit focus on the substance of the issue.”
 

We thought we’d help Sen. Cruz out by highlighting just a few examples of times when he has refrained from throwing rocks and displayed “a consistent and explicit focus on the substance of the issue”:

Cornyn Blames Obama For Gridlock Cornyn Created

The Huffington Post clips this exchange from yesterday’s meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee meeting yesterday, which pretty much encapsulates the gridlock that Republicans have inflicted on the Senate during the Obama administration:

 

 

HuffPost’s Jennifer Bendery summarizes the exchange between Texas Republican John Cornyn and Democrats on the Judiciary Committee:

During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Cornyn was arguing for more immigration judge slots in Texas when he got called out by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) for gumming up the district court nomination process. Immigration judges are different from district court judges, but Whitehouse questioned why the Senate should add more immigration judgeships in Texas if Cornyn isn't trying to fill empty district court slots there.

"I don't see why you need additional judges when there have been multiple vacancies that have been left without nominees for years," Whitehouse said. "I have an issue with that."

Cornyn said his answer to that was "simple:" It's Obama's fault.

"The president's got to nominate somebody before the Senate can act on it," Cornyn said.

But the process for approving a new district court judge, per longstanding tradition, begins with a senator making recommendations from his or her state to the president. The president then works with that senator to get at least some of the nominees confirmed -- the idea being that those senators, regardless of party, are motivated to advocate for nominees from their states. The White House may look at other nominees on its own, but typically won't move forward without input from home state senators.

That's when Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) stepped in to remind Cornyn what he already knows: that if he wants to see movement on district court nominees, he needs to make recommendations to the president.

"Based on 38 years experience here, every judgeship I've seen come through this committee during that time has followed recommendations by the senators from the state," Leahy said. "You have to have recommendations from the senators, especially since I've been chairman, because ... as the senator from Texas knows, if senators have cooperated with the White House and the White House sends somebody they disagree with ... I have not brought the person forward, even when it's been importune to do so by the White House."

Cruz tried to absolve himself of the matter altogether, saying he just got to the Senate in January.

In short, Cornyn was blaming President Obama for gridlock that Cornyn himself has created. In fact, Texas has eight current federal judicial vacancies, one dating back as far as 2008.  All  are on courts so overworked that they have been labeled “judicial emergencies.” Thanks to Cornyn and Cruz, not one of those vacancies has a nominee.

And in July, one more vacancy will open up in a district court seat based in Fort Worth. When it comes open, Fort Worth will be reduced to just one active federal judge for the first time in over two decades.

PFAW

Texas Education Official to Investigate Whether Schools Teach 'Roles of Men and Women in a Traditional Way'

The Texas Board of Education member who is leading the committee to review CSCOPE, a curriculum that has been the target of several right-wing conspiracy theories, told a Republican women’s group that his committee will “look at whether or not [CSCOPE lessons] treat the roles of men and women in a traditional way.”

Republican Marty Rowley also told the group that CSCOPE had “a definite leftist bent” but that it is not as left-wing as Common Core, promising to block “any opening or opportunity for Common Core to weasel its way into Texas.”

Like CSCOPE, Common Core has come under attack from conservative figures.

The comments were first spotted by Dan Quinn of the Texas Freedom Network, who notes that right-wing activists in Texas have consistently criticized textbooks “for including information on birth control, line drawings of self-exams for breast cancer and other content they found morally objectionable.”

“As folks began to look at those lessons what they began to see was there was a definite leftist bent to some of those lessons, particularly in the area of social studies and it became of great concern to folks, myself included,” said Rowley, R-Amarillo, during the Midland County Republican Women meeting Wednesday.

Rowley represents Midland as the District 15 SBOE member and was recently appointed chairman of an ad hoc committee to review the CSCOPE social studies curriculum this summer.



“We have some specific criteria that we’re looking at (regarding the CSCOPE lessons). We’re going to look at whether or not they treat the roles of men and women in a traditional way. That’s part of the operating rules and things that we’re looking at,” Rowley said. “We’re going to look at whether or not they treat American exceptionalism in a particular way and whether they enforce the belief that America is an exceptional nation.”



“I’ve looked through (the Common Core Standards) and it’ll curl your eyebrows. It’s not something you’ll enjoy reading. You think CSCOPE’s to the left, you ought to read Common Core,” Rowley said. “My concern is if we just say do away with this entire curriculum that 75 percent of our school districts use, they’re going to go shopping for something else. I don’t want to create any opening or opportunity for Common Core to weasel its way into Texas.”
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