Hes Been A Texas Supreme Court Justice For A Month Now Jimmy

first_img Share Bob Daemmrich for The Texas TribuneGov. Greg Abbott swears in Jimmy Blacklock to replace Don Willett on the Texas Supreme Court on Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2017. Blacklock previously served as the governor’s general counsel.Jimmy Blacklock is new to this — so new that the card outside his Texas Supreme Court office still has the old occupant’s name on it; so new to the court that even his extensive collection of law books has yet to completely fill the wood shelves of his sunny office on the Capitol grounds; so new that the velcro hanging strips stuck on his walls do not yet bear decorations.   Blacklock, 37, has experience with the law — he boasts stints in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, the state attorney general’s office and as general counsel to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott. But 2018 marks the first year he’ll sit on the bench. And it will also be his first time running a campaign — at least since his successful bid to lead the Yale Law Republicans (an uncontested race, as he recalls).Abbott appointed Blacklock to the state Supreme Court last month to fill a seat vacated by former Justice Don Willett, who left the state court to join the federal 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. Willett’s term expires at the end of this year, thrusting Blacklock immediately into a partisan campaign to keep the new post.In that race, he’ll have to walk a familiar but ill-defined line, one his predecessors have become accustomed to treading. On the bench, he’ll be expected to serve as an impartial arbiter of justice — but on the side, he’ll have to wage a partisan campaign to keep his seat in an increasingly polarized state.Abbott gave him considerable room for error by selecting — and expressing his strong support for — Blacklock just before the filing deadline for the 2018 elections. That helped keep the field clear of Republican primary challengers, including one who had initially announced plans to run upon Willett’s confirmation. But Blacklock’s long-term future still requires a delicate balance that all judges in Texas must strike: Lean your weight too far on one side of that line and you risk your prized impartiality, or at least the appearance of it; fall off toward the other and you could fall out of favor with the Republican base.While working for Abbott, Blacklock fought on behalf of Texas leadership on many of the state’s most divisive partisan issues, including abortion, same-sex marriage and the Affordable Care Act. Now, he says he’s ready to transition from advocate to arbiter.“Most everybody who comes to the bench having been a lawyer has worked on all kinds of issues and advocated for all kinds of clients,” Blacklock said in an interview last week. “When you take that hat off and put on the judicial robe, you swear a solemn oath to the Constitution, to perform that role fairly and impartially — to look only to the laws and the Constitution.”But Blacklock has already put toes on either side of that line. On his website, he touts his “conservative record” advocating for the “right to life,” the Second Amendment and religious liberty. He also pledges to “never exceed the limited role assigned to the judiciary” — to take each case on its merits “accurately and impartially.”In the last several days, Blacklock’s website has undergone numerous changes, including the removal of phrases like “lifelong conservative Republican” and “Republican from a young age,” as well as references to his work as a Republican precinct chairman and election judge. A page titled “Jimmy’s Conservative Record” — a link that used to appear on his website’s home page — is no longer prominently featured, though the page remains live.Blacklock said Monday that he and his staff “just needed to simplify and streamline the website.” And while Abbott is helping him politically, Blacklock’s old boss isn’t helping him project impartiality. Last month, Blacklock joined Abbott at the annual “Texas Rally For Life,” where the newly-minted justice’s presence was unusual, although not unheard of. More striking were the governor’s remarks about his appointee.Abbott had already praised Blacklock as something of a known quantity. In November, he said,  “I wanted to make sure that the person I appointed was going to make decisions that I know how they are going to decide.” But before a crowd of several thousand in Austin, the governor added specificity to that praise.“I don’t have to guess or wonder how Justice Blacklock is going to decide cases because of his proven record of fighting for pro-life causes,” Abbott said.That was a disturbing statement for some lawyers, legal ethicists and judges — especially given Abbott’s past as a Texas Supreme Court justice himself. The Texas Supreme Court rarely hears abortion-related cases. Even still, any indication that a judge has pre-decided an outcome could cross a bright legal line.“The governor should know better. The governor is essentially saying: ‘Let me tell you, this guy will always rule in a certain way,’” said James Alfini, the former dean of South Texas College of Law Houston and the co-author of Judicial Conduct and Ethics, a guide for judges. “And that’s wrong. Just plain wrong. He’s basically destroyed any image of impartiality on that issue that he might have.”In his undecorated office last week, Blacklock walked those statements back on behalf of his mentor.“What I take the governor to mean — what I know he means — is that, because I worked for him for many years, he is confident that I mean what I say when I talk about my judicial philosophy,” Blacklock said. “I will be the kind of judge who looks only to the text of the Constitution and the text of the laws, and does not go beyond that to impose my own personal views on these cases.”Blacklock’s difficult position is nothing new. Partisan judicial elections in Texas have long drawn criticism, with some of the harshest words coming from former and sitting justices themselves. Texas is one of just seven states that elects Supreme Court justices in partisan races.In recent years, there have been several legal and legislative challenges to the current system. Just this week, a case went to trial in federal court over the issue, questioning whether the statewide system of judicial elections dilutes the voting power of Texas Latinos.Nathan Hecht, the state Supreme Court’s current chief, criticized partisan elections in his 2017 State of the Judiciary speech, saying “judicial independence is the casualty” of an increasingly harsh political climate. And Willett, Blacklock’s predecessor, was one of the most vocal critics.“Our imperfect system requires judicial candidates to put on their game face, get over their delicate sensibilities, and run unabashedly the way Texas law defines them: as politicians,” Willett told the San Antonio Express-News in 2012. He added that “how you run should never impact how you rule.”But even Willett ran explicitly partisan campaigns himself. In a 2012 campaign ad, Willett touted his reputation as the state’s “most conservative justice,” and “the judicial remedy to Obamacare.” He also said he “fought the liberals” who wanted to remove the words “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance.Blacklock wouldn’t weigh in on the system of partisan elections — when asked, he chewed on his words carefully and highlighted the need to balance judicial independence with accountability to voters.“This is the system we have in our Constitution,” he said.Whatever he thinks of that method, it will shape his work off the court — and he’ll be expected to keep it from affecting his work on the court. “The main challenge is balancing the important work of the court with the demands of the campaign,” Blacklock said. “I swore an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution by applying the law to these cases to the best of my ability. That has to be my primary focus at all times — even though I’m running for office.”“It doesn’t leave time for hanging things on the walls,” he said with a laugh.last_img read more

Conquistador Series Hernan Snagged by Azteca TV and History Channel Latin America

first_imgTouted as the most expensive Hispanic series in history by Dopamine, “Hernan” was shot on location and on sets built in both Spain and Mexico, with special effects by El Ranchito, whose credits include “Game of Thrones.”Spanish actor Oscar Jaenada (“Cantinflas,” “Luis Miguel: The Series”) plays the conquistador. He leads a cast from Mexico and Spain including Víctor Clavijo (Captain Cristóbal de Olid), Michel Brown (Captain Alvarado), Dagoberto Gama (Moctezuma), Jorge Guerrero (Xiconténcatl), Almagro San Miguel (Captain Sandoval), Isabel Bautista (Marina / Malinche) and Aura Garrido (Doña Juana).Dopamine’s CEO Fidela Navarro said that the second season of “Hernan” is in development and will likely start filming by early January.Dopamine recently struck a production alliance with Turner Latin America, announcing three joint projects at NATPE in January: “Amarres,” written by its showrunner Fernanda Eguiarte, expected to bow by the second quarter of 2020; “Coyotl,” a youth targeted series set along the U.S. border where werewolves are pitted against coyotes, which Navarro described as “a different way of relating and addressing current issues for a younger audience”; and risqué new thriller “Tu Parte del Trato,” featuring strong female characters. Streamers, Asians, V/R, Boost Industry Attendance As Venice Market Kicks Off ×Actors Reveal Their Favorite Disney PrincessesSeveral actors, like Daisy Ridley, Awkwafina, Jeff Goldblum and Gina Rodriguez, reveal their favorite Disney princesses. Rapunzel, Mulan, Ariel,Tiana, Sleeping Beauty and Jasmine all got some love from the Disney stars.More VideosVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9Next UpJennifer Lopez Shares How She Became a Mogul04:350.5x1x1.25×1.5x2xLive00:0002:1502:15 Kristen Stewart on ‘Seberg’: ‘It’s Not Hard for Me to Wear My Politics’ In the wake of its streaming rights acquisition by Amazon Prime, epic series “Hernan” has sold to Mexican broadcaster Azteca and pan-regional pay TV network, The History Channel, which have jointly acquired the series for their respective platforms.Produced by Mexico’s Dopamine, a Salinas Group unit, and Spain’s Onza Entertainment, the eight-episode mega-series marks the 500th Anniversary of Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes’ arrival in Mexico. It is expected to bow later this year via the various outlets. Azteca seemed a likely platform for the series as it is also owned by the Salinas Group.Set in 1519, the ambitious series turns on the conquest of Mexico by Cortés and his troops, and will feature key characters’ perspectives of this tumultuous time in Mexico and Spain’s history. The series aims to highlight both the encounter and contrast of these two cultures as well as the human side of Cortes, a skilled diplomat and a military genius who was beloved and despised in equal measure. Related Popular on Variety last_img read more

Calcutta Walks strikes the right chord with foreign domestic tourists alike

first_imgKolkata: At a time when Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has chalked out elaborate plans to boost tourism of Bengal and Kolkata, a move taken by Calcutta Walks has become immensely popular among foreign and domestic tourists.Calcutta Walks organised by Iftekhar Ahsan over a decade ago has become quite popular among the tourists. The walks are conducted everyday by Ahsan and his associates. The groups are taken to visit north and south Kolkata. In north Kolkata, the walks start from Sovabazar- Sutanutui metro station then Bagbazar and ends at Sovabazar Rajbari. Belonging to the well known Bose family of North Kolkata, Dr Pasupati Bose and his brother Nandalal, Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsthe famous painter and artist, it was in this house Swami Vivekanada was treated over breakfast after his return from the West in January, 1897. Sri Ramakrishna had visited the house to see the oil paintings of gods and goddesses. It was a custom to keep the photograph or oil painting of Queen Victoria in the houses of rich people in those days but no photograph of Queen was there in the house. The house played an important role during the movement to protest against the proposal to partition Bengal by Lord Curzon in 1905. The building is in shambles now. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedThe group members are taken down the lanes and by lanes of north Kolkata. There are such narrow lanes in north Kolkata where just one person can pass. The groups are taken to the bank of river Hooghly in Baghbazar. It was here in North Kolkata that Job Charnock, a representative of the east India Company started trade.In south Kolkata, the walk is organised in areas surrounding Park Street. “There is great enthusiasm among the tourists. The history of Kolkata is not only about buildings, mansions and monuments. It is something beyond the monuments. Every street has a history and every locality has a story to tale.”It may be mentioned that the state tourism department is planning to introduce religions tourism where people will be taken to different religious places in north Kolkata and finally to Dakshineshwar temple and Belur Math as these places are in high demand.last_img read more