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Fifth Circuit, Immigration Economics, and Diane Rehm: Monday’s Show (February 22, 2016)

Until a new Justice is named and confirmed to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court, any rulings resulting in a 4-4 tie among the current Justices will lead to the lower court ruling being upheld, without a precedent set. When it comes to cases involving the state of Texas, that lower […]

5th Circuit Court of Appeals Courthouse New Orleans - MH

Until a new Justice is named and confirmed to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court, any rulings resulting in a 4-4 tie among the current Justices will lead to the lower court ruling being upheld, without a precedent set. When it comes to cases involving the state of Texas, that lower court is the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

Based in New Orleans, the Fifth Circuit has 15 active judges who rule on cases stemming from Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi. The court is known for being very conservative, but it wasn’t always.

On this edition of Houston Matters, we learn how the Fifth Circuit became the most consistently right-leaning appellate court in the nation, and discuss some of the Texas-based cases it has ruled on in recent years, with Charles “Rocky” Rhodes, professor of law at South Texas College of Law.

Also this hour: An economics research and analysis firm recently released a report on the economic impact undocumented workers have on Texas. The findings were presented earlier this month at a summit hosted by the American Jewish Committee of Houston. The data update a report the Texas Comptroller’s office released back in 2006. That’s not a typo: it’s been ten years since such a comprehensive study was made by the state. We discuss the economic impact of undocumented immigrants in Texas, the political implications of such research and why it’s been ten years since the state compiled and released such data.

Then: Since the 1970s, Diane Rehm has hosted a public radio talk program from WAMU in Washington. Today, The Diane Rehm Show reaches 2.4 million listeners each week on more than 200 NPR member stations, including News 88.7 FM. Last week (Feb. 17, 2016), Rehm visited Houston, as part of a tour promoting her new memoir On My Own, in which she writes about life after the death of her husband John, who suffered from Parkinson’s and ultimately sought a way to end his own life. That experience has led Rehm to speak out in favor of physician-assisted suicide. In a candid conversation in front of an audience at Christ Church Cathedral downtown, we talked about her life with and without her husband. We present some highlights from that chat.

Plus: The Houston Rockets traded Donatas Motiejunas to the Detroit Pistons before last week’s NBA trade deadline. Except, maybe they didn’t. D-Mo’s been out with a sore back, and, according to Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy, the NBA granted Detroit an extension to complete the trade until today (Feb. 22. 2016) at 5 p.m. CT. We discuss this development with Jeff Balke, who writes for Houstonia Magazine and Houston Press, and joins us Mondays to talk over the latest in Houston sports.

Houston Matters offers a free daily, downloadable podcast here, on iTunes, Stitcher and various other podcasting apps.

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