News Roundup: Harris County Activists Repeat Calls For District Judge Michael McSpadden To Step Down

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelMarch 6, 2018 1:28 pm

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

Civil rights activists continue to call for a longtime Harris County judge to step aside, following public comments he made about African-Americans and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Houston Public Media’s Florian Martin reports.

The Greater Houston Coalition For Justice joins the ACLU and the NAACP in asking State District Judge Michael McSpadden to resign. It comes after McSpadden told the Houston Chronicle that black defendants get bad advice from “rag-tag organizations” like Black Lives Matter, which he said encourages contempt for the police. Johnny Mata is the presiding officer of the Greater Houston Coalition For Justice.

“It’s a judge and a jury bundled into one, and it shows contempt towards Afro-American defendants,” Mata said.

Last week, several civil rights organizations, including Black Lives Matter and the Texas Organizing Project, filed a complaint about McSpadden with the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct.

Our attempts to reach McSpadden were unsuccessful.

The U.S. Supreme Court issued an opinion Monday in a drawn-out legal battle between three states over the water in the Rio Grande.

Texas is suing New Mexico and Colorado, alleging the upstream states violated a 1938 interstate compact that ensures enough water reaches Texans.  Now, the Supreme Court says the United States can intervene in the five-year-old case.

Amy Hardberger with St. Mary’s School of Law in San Antonio tells Marfa Public Radio that’s because of water agreements between the U.S. and Mexico.

“When they look at the underlying claim, they need to be seeing this more as a larger international issue, than just an interstate compact,”Hardberger says. “And, you know, river systems don’t stop at boundaries, they keep going. And since we have obligations on other side of the international boundary, then they want to consider that at the same time.”

The case now returns to arbitration, with the Supreme Court’s guidance in mind.

Hardberger says the Supreme Court’s decision could be an indicator that federal interests will play a big part in the case down the line.

The dating app Bumble is banning images of guns, in response to mass shootings across the country.

The Austin-based company announced Monday that it will begin moderating new and previously uploaded photos for the presence of guns. This excludes photos of users in military or law enforcement uniforms though.

In a statement, the company said: “As mass shootings continue to devastate communities across the country, it’s time to state unequivocally that gun violence is not in line with our values, nor do these weapons belong on Bumble.”

This isn’t the first time Bumble has taken a stand on social issues.

The company began working to identify and remove hate speech from users after a violent, white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia last year.

Back in September, Bumble’s Alex Williamson el-Effendi explained the decision to KUT News in Austin.

“This is about protecting people and promoting kindness and respect online. And I think it’s more about online accountability than anything else and if there’s something else that’s happening that’s compromising that we’re going to take a stand and we’re going to protect people.”

The self-described feminist dating app was founded by women to make them feel safer when dating online.