Greg Abbott Vows To Appeal Ruling Invalidating Two Congressional Districts

Our daily roundup of Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelAugust 17, 2017 1:14 pm

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

Gov. Greg Abbott wants to challenge a court ruling that found two Texas congressional districts must be redrawn.

A panel of federal judges ruled Tuesday that the districts are drawn in ways that discriminate against minority voters, violating the Voting Rights Act and the U.S. Constitution. The court gave Texas three days to decide whether to let the Legislature redraw the districts or let the court do it.

But Governor Abbott seems to have other plans.

“We are going to be appealing this once again to the United States Supreme Court and I feel very confident that once again the United States Supreme Court is going to overturn this misguided decision by the lower court,” Abbott said on KFYO in Lubbock, Wednesday.

Michael Li, from the Brennan Center for Justice, represented plaintiffs in this case. He told KUT News in Austin that it’s not clear how an appeal to the Supreme Court would affect plans to redraw the maps before the 2018 elections.

“So it’s possible that everything gets put on hold until the Supreme Court decides. But it’s also possible that the court lets that go forward. I think everyone is sensitive with the close timing of the election and everything that it may make sense to go ahead and redraw the maps now,” Li said.

One of the congressional districts sent back to the drawing board is District 27, represented by Corpus Christi Republican Blake Farenthold. The other is Congressional District 35 which runs from Austin to San Antonio, and is represented by Democrat Lloyd Doggett.

The man accused of driving an 18-wheeler in a human smuggling incident has been indicted by a federal grand jury in San Antonio. Ten immigrants died and numerous others were injured, some critically.

Texas Public Radio’s Steve Short has the details.

The grand jury returned the indictment Wednesday afternoon against 60-year-old James Matthew Bradley, Jr. for his role in the smuggling operation.

The five-count indictment includes a charge of conspiracy to transport and harbor undocumented aliens for financial gain resulting in death.

If convicted, Bradley faces up to life in prison or the death penalty.

The 39 immigrants were discovered in the trailer of an 18-Wheeler in a Walmart parking lot shortly after midnight on July 23 in San Antonio.

Of the immigrants who survived, two remain hospitalized, 22 are in federal custody charged as material witnesses, and five, including four kids, have since been released from the hospital and turned over to immigration authorities.

If the news leaves you wanting a drink…you’re in luck, because 2017 is going to be a banner year for wine produced in Texas, according to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service fruit expert Jim Kamas in Fredericksburg.

Kamas says despite some minor struggles early in the season, most Texas producers of wine grapes are seeing large, high-quality crops.

Gulf Coast wine grapes have already been harvested and Hill Country harvests are wrapping up now. Harvesting in the High Plains is just getting underway.