Each week I watch the Thursday public pre-trial hearing on Zoom, before Judge David Peeples in San Antonio, about the 21 election-denial suits filed by Harris County Republicans defeated in the 2022 elections.
Here is the account of the June 15 meeting. There was no June 22 meeting.
I missed the most recent--June 29--hearing because I was traveling in the eastern time zone & got confused about what time it was. I tuned in at the wrong hour. No worries though. I still have useful stuff to report.
Here are the weekly repeating points: Re-doing elections is sought--Not declaring new winner./Judge Peeples decides cases. No jury./Judge Peeples seems fair-minded./First trial is loser Erin Lunceford against Judge Tamika Craft. It’s separated from other cases because it is further along in discovery. Starts August 1./Other 20 cases in fall. Maybe all 20 in a bundle. Maybe two separate trials./All cases likely headed to hyper-partisan Texas Supreme Court./ Also upcoming is motion from election winners for summary dismissal of cases before any trials because there is no solid evidence.
In these hearings, the Judge asks the lawyers questions about what evidence they’ll present, on what facts & witnesses the evidence will be based, are the many lawyers involved in this matter cooperating with each other as the Judge expects & when should we schedule certain proceedings.
There was some (phony) news from the June 29 hearing. Attorneys for the Republican losers complained Harris County Elections Administrator Cliff Tatum did not show up for a deposition. The thing is Mr. Tatum has already been deposed and the Republican side keeps wanting to depose him some more. A new date for the deposition has been set. A tempest in an extremist teapot.
I also saw a complaint from a right-winger that most or all of the attorneys for the Democrats were on vacation and missed the June 29 hearing. This is also horse hockey. All the folks in the hearings--including Judge Peeples-- discuss vacations. They mention vacations every session. They are prosperous folks and it is summer. A very hot summer. They take vacations.
It’s important to share these facts because the right is doing a better job getting out their interpretations than is our side. There are right wing media sources offering regular updates on the hearings. I find our side of the aisle is not as aware. We need to see these hearings as part of the Republican assault on our most basic rights.
There were new attacks last week from local law enforcement unions on one of our Harris County Democratic judges. These attacks are at this point are not about crime or law & order. They are about creating the climate where the rights of Harris County voters to select their own judges is taken away--Just as the people of Houston have lost an elected school board.
Two recent investigative reports, one by Jen Rice at the Houston Chronicle and the other by Andrew Schneider at KUHF 88.7 FM, say these lawsuits are bunk.
I’ve started the Houston Democracy Project to change the culture of city elections in Houston. There must be greater focus on promoting and protecting democracy. These updates are part of that work. Please check out the Project, share word & donate. This all takes time and effort. Anti-democracy forces are well-funded. We must have the resources required to defend ourselves.
I'm Neil Aquino