Dallas Morning News - Texas Republicans are moving to stamp out Democratic challenges to their policies, particularly in the legal realm. Some GOP leaders want to strip heavily Democratic Travis County of an anti-corruption unit that has pursued high-profile Republicans such as Tom DeLay and Kay Bailey Hutchison. Gov. Greg Abbott and freshman Sen. Don Huffines of Dallas seek to rein in big-city local governments that they say are imposing “nanny state” rules. And two GOP lawmakers have introduced measures that would deny Travis County judges their usual first crack at deciding multibillion-dollar lawsuits over school finance and politically fraught battles over redistricting.
...Rep. Mike Schofield, a GOP freshman from Houston who introduced the House version of the bill, said the Democratic judges in Travis County have outsize influence. “At the district court level is where you frame the issues” that set bounds for later rulings by the Supreme Court, he said.