Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Beating Abbott now, and beating him in November

Winning lawsuits isn't really his strong suit, but Greg Abbott knows he cannot afford to lose this one to Wendy Davis.  And that has nothing to do with the taxpayer's money he's already spent fighting a losing battle.

"Loser pays" is what the law says.  The law Texas Republicans passed.  And Abbott, as we all know, is the state's biggest loser.

Lawyers who helped Sen. Wendy Davis beat back Republican-led efforts to retool her Tarrant County district urged a federal court Monday to award them hundreds of thousands of dollars spent fighting Attorney General Greg Abbott in the case. ...

In September, a federal court in San Antonio declared Davis a "prevailing" party and instructed her lawyers to file to recoup legal costs. Since then, the redistricting court fight over a state Senate map has centered on a request from Davis' lawyers and the League of United Latin American Citizens for more than $700,000 in total reimbursement.

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals last week rejected Abbott's initial request to block Davis' legal team from being awarded attorney fees. The case now gets bounced back to the court in San Antonio to decide how much, if anything, the state should pay back the Davis legal team.

Abbott lost at the Fifth Circuit.  Let that soak in for a minute.  The $700 large is really just pocket change in the grand scheme; the bragging rights are much more valuable.

Important note: The 5th Circuit did not rule on the merits, i.e. the substantive claims made for or against the fees, in the case. It basically told the state that its appeal is untimely and should come later — after the San Antonio court rules on the requested attorney fees (read the state’s brief here and Davis’ brief here).

A majority of the three-judge panel told the Texas attorney general that he was jumping the gun on his appeal.  "Go back home and wait for decision from the lower court, Skippy".  That is priceless.

Abbott’s legal team can file another appeal with the 5th Circuit if the San Antonio court awards fees to Davis’ lawyers. And Abbott’s office on Monday made clear that it plans to do just that if necessary.

“The 5th Circuit expressed no view on the merits of Davis’ request for attorneys’ fees or the district court’s designation of her as a prevailing party,” Abbott spokeswoman Lauren Bean said in a statement. “Those issues will be back in front of the 5th Circuit at a later date.”

In other words, 'we'll keep fighting and we'll keep losing'.  For some reason I am reminded here of the 43 votes taken in the US House of Representatives to repeal Obamacare, and since those were all failures, Plan B is to complain loudly about a glitchy website. 

All this conservative losing bodes well for 2014, don't you think?

1 comment:

Gadfly said...

And the third judge actually wanted to dismiss. So, overall, Abbott got a shutout pitched at him.