Supreme Court Keeps Contested Texas Districts In Place While State Appeals

Here’s our daily roundup of headlines from across the state.

By Alexandra HartAugust 29, 2017 11:40 am

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

A federal ruling that invalidated two of Texas’ congressional districts was put on hold yesterday by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Justice Samuel Alito honored a request by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to keep the maps in place while the state appeals to the Supreme Court.

The maps were invalidated when a panel of judges in San Antonio found they intentionally diluted the voting power of minority voters.

Nina Perales is a lawyer with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), and represents the groups suing the state.

She said the high court is deciding whether to take the case before or after new maps are drawn. “The Supreme Court is trying to figure whether to let the case move forward in the trial court and hear the appeal later or whether to lift the whole case up and bring it into the Supreme Court before a remedy has been drawn,” she explains.

A spokesman for Attorney General Paxton issued a written statement saying they were encouraged by the decision.

Harvey evacuees with certain medical conditions are dealing with stress beyond the normal strain of fleeing from a flood.

That includes people with opioid addiction.

In San Antonio, Texas Public Radio’s David Martin Davies spoke with a man from Corpus Christi named Bruce (a pseudonym) in that very situation.

Eight months ago Bruce decided to get off of heroin. To do it his body demands a daily dose of methadone.

On Thursday when he boarded the bus from Corpus Christi to San Antonio, he had enough methadone to last till Sunday. We were talking Monday evening. And how is he coping?

“Praying and hurting,” he said.

Chris Van Deusen, spokesman for the Texas Department of State Health Services, says the state recognizes the need for methadone dependent evacuees and officials are working with area clinics. “They will be able to access the methadone at any of the licensed treatment clinics in San Antonio or in the area,” he says. “Typically they do need to be able to get there but they can coordinate transportation with the shelter that they’re staying at if they are staying at a shelter to take them to the treatment clinic to pick-up that methadone.”

Van Deusen said it would help if the evacuee had some documentation about their recovery treatment; even an old methadone bottle with information on the label could suffice.

Officials are looking into bringing methadone directly to evacuation shelters, but that’s not currently an option due to regulations surrounding the drug.

Two more Texas prisons began to evacuate Monday night due to rising flood waters.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice announced that inmates at the Vance and Jester 3 units in Richmond, just outside of Houston, would be evacuated. Richmond is threatened by the rising Brazos River.

The 1.400 inmates at the two facilities will be relocated to prisons in south Texas.

The state’s department of criminal justice has now evacuated five prisons because of Hurricane Harvey