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The QueQue

The QueQue: SAPD’s Internal Affairs attacked, Sidewalks and sodomy, Benchslaps over sonograms

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Members of Voices for Marriage gathered outside City Hall on Monday felt otherwise. Charles Flowers, a pastor with the Faith Outreach Center International, claimed domestic-partner benefits would put the city on “a dangerous path.”

The council is scheduled to vote on a final budget September 15. Another public budget hearing is being held at 6 p.m. tonight in the Council Chambers (114 W Commerce).


Benchslaps over sonograms

San Antonio Federal District Judge Sam Sparks is expected to decide this week whether to block the state’s new sonogram law that goes into effect Thursday requiring women seeking an abortion to first undergo an invasive sonogram, hear a description of the fetus, and listen to the fetal heartbeat. While a group of local doctors along with the Center for Reproductive Rights have filed a lawsuit to stop it, arguing the new law is unconstitutional, two conservative state lawmakers (Senator Dan Patrick and Representative Sid Miller), and a local anti-abortion lawyer (Allan Parker with the Justice Foundation) tried to butt into the process all throughout August. In three orders over the past month, Sparks has poignantly, and humorously, shot down their requests.

In his first order on August 9, Sparks wrote: “Both parties in this case are well-represented by competent and diligent counsel, and neither they nor this Court needs assistance from Senator Patrick or Representative Miller — particularly when much of their “assistance” is nothing more than thinly-veiled rhetoric. This is a federal lawsuit about the constitutionality of a statute, not a soapbox for politicians or a sounding board for public opinion.”

Patrick and Miller tried again on August 12, and got the same Sparks treatment: “As stated in its August 9, 2011 Order, the Court will not allow this lawsuit to be used as a vehicle for advancing a political agenda, or as the platform for rhetorical grandstanding. Although the outcome of this case will likely have repercussions outside these proceedings, the resolution of this case will depend solely on the legal issues presented. The Court’s time is better spent considering the arguments of the parties than addressing the opportunistic petitions of outsiders.”

Last week, Parker tried to jump into the mix, and Sparks fired off his last order denying “the latest in an unfortunately long line of motions,” saying:

“The Court has already turned down two extremely tempting offers to transform this case from a boring old federal lawsuit into an exciting, politically-charged media circus. As any competent attorney could have predicted, the Court declines the latest invitation as well.

“However, the Court is forced to conclude that Allan E. Parker, Jr. … is anything but competent. … A competent attorney would not have filed this motion in the first place; if he did, he certainly would not have attached exhibits that are both highly prejudicial and legally irrelevant; and if he foolishly did both things, he surely would not be so unprofessional as to file such exhibits unsealed. A competent attorney who did those things would be deliberately disrespecting this Court and knowingly shirking his professional responsibilities, offenses for which he would be lucky to retain his bar card, much less an intact bank balance.”

Legal blog Above The Law glowingly dubbed Judge Sparks’ order their “Benchslap of the Day.” •

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