At Some Point, A Parent Gives The Talk

At some point, a parent gives The Talk. Steve McIntyre. The Daily News. Thursday, December 11, 2014. B4

As some of you may know, it is the custom—no, it is the requirement—of every parent of a young man who is not white in this country to have The Talk.

My wife and her parents immigrated into this country from Zacatecas in central Mexico under the old bracero program. As the family grew they migrated and struggled to live like all farmworker immigrants. My Texas born brothers-in-law were taught to be careful when stopped by the police or rural county sheriffs. They received The Talk.

When it came time a few years ago I had The Talk with my son. He is a surfer, and at that time he worked as a beach life guard for Peter Davis. Before the summer was half over he was darker than his uncles and grandfather or the other campesinos throughout the history of our family.

It is possible that all parents have talk with their sons and daughters about how to behave in public. But there is a special urgency when your son is not as white as he needs to be to eliminate that gnawing fear when he is still out late on Saturday night in a neighborhood where some would think he should not be… driving a car some would think he should not be in… and if stopped by the police… possibly saying things he should not say.

About 15 years ago Bruce Springsteen wrote the song “American Skin—41 Shots.” It was inspired by the police shooting death of Amadou Diallo in New York City. It prompted the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association in New York City to call for a boycott of Springsteen’s final ten-show run at Madison Square Garden in 2000. After Trayvon Martin’s death in 2012 he inserted it back into a couple of his concerts and then again after the not guilty verdict for George Zimmerman in 2013.

It is a powerful song and a couple lyrics particularly strike home–

Lena gets her son ready for school

She says now on these streets Charles

You got to understand the rules

Promise me if an officer stops you’ll always be polite

Never ever run away and promise momma you’ll keep your hands in sight

Cause is it a gun?

Is it a knife?

Is it a wallet?

This is your life

It ain’t no secret

It ain’t no secret

The secret my friend

You can get killed just for living in your American skin

There needs to be a conversation—lots of conversations… and then some action. Parents and their sons should not have to live and fear like this in America.

Young men of color in every family receive The Talk. The heartbreaking… fearful… urgent… Talk… and afterward we hope our sons have listened, remain lucky and will go on to live long lives and raise their own sons.

Hopefully, a future generation will be able to quietly wave good bye to their sons on a Saturday night without worrying that it will be the last time.

A Living Wage Is Good For All

Steve McIntyre. The Galveston Daily News. November 30, 2014. B4.

Over two years ago on June 1, 2012 Archbishop emeritus of the Galveston-Houston Diocese Joseph A. Fiorenza wrote a guest column in the Houston Chronicle concerning the struggle of Houston janitors to get a higher wage. He said in part:

“The concept of the common good should never be forgotten. All the benefits of a well ordered society—food, medicine, education, work, decent housing, security, peace, justice, and other human values—compromise the common good. The common good relates well to the American spirit of fairness and equal opportunity. It should never be the right of only those who are more fortunate. Every person should be able to share the common good available to all Houstonians. The janitors should not be forced to choose between buying food or medicine for their families, or between paying a doctor or rent. They will not be forced into these tragic decisions if a new contract provides a living wage for their labor.”

It is hard to argue that a hard-working family should not be able to survive in Houston or Galveston. You can read the entire column of Archbishop Emeritus Fiorenza at .

Are the hard-working families in Galveston surviving on their wages or are they standing in the growing lines at the food pantries and food stamp office to survive?

Are they waiting to get in line to apply for housing assistance when the application process reopens next year or the year after? Who is paying for their struggle to survive?

The articles and editorials at the website of Gulf Coast Interfaith that talk about decent wages for workers may be helpful to you if what Fiorenza has said has caused you to pause and wonder about the fairness of the wages paid to our hard-working friends and neighbors in Galveston.

Conference To Focus On Minimum Wage Issues In Galveston

John Wayne Ferguson. The Galveston County Daily News. Monday, September 22, 2014.

GALVESTON — The national discussion about the issue of providing a living wage to low-income employees will take center stage at a conference on the island next week.

The micro-conference — it’s only scheduled to last 90 minutes — will feature speakers from the city of Galveston, the Galveston Housing Authority, the University of Texas Medical Branch and the district attorney’s office.

The speakers at the Gulf Coast Interfaith second annual Living Wage Conference will focus on topics including the demographics of the city’s low-wage workers, the benefits and detriments of immigrant worker programs in the city and how law enforcement deals with cases of wage theft.

Steve McIntyre, a local attorney and board member for Gulf Coast Interfaith, the event’s organizer, said that the conference is meant to prompt discussion and spread information about a topic that is growing in the public consciousness.

“The problem exists everywhere,” McIntyre said of people making less money than it takes to support themselves and a family.

“As a general, cultural, community, societal, political concern, this is a legitimate discussion to be had, because people aren’t making enough money.”

Organizers had hoped to complete a study of the state of wages in Galveston by the time of the conference, McIntyre said, but are still gathering data.

When it the study is complete, McIntyre said he hopes it will paint a clearer picture of just how many Galvestonians are living at or near poverty, despite having jobs.

“We’re seeing who they are, how they’re doing, if their numbers are going up or down, are things going to be better for their lives in the future,” Mcintyre said.

“We need to put some meat to the bone. We’re going to have some hard information.”

Living wage protests have been in the news recently. Earlier this month, thousands of fast food workers in major cities walked off the job and picketed their employers while demanding a $15-per- hour wage.

The minimum wage in Texas is set to correspond at with the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.

Texas cities are not allowed, under the law, to set their own minimum wages. That means that Galveston could not follow the lead of Seattle and set a minimum wage of $15.

But there are other things that a city could do, McIntyre said, such as increasing the minimum wages for its own employees, or requiring that contractors hired by the city pay their employees a minimum amount.

It’s possible that the city is open to such changes.

Last week, while making the final adjustments to the city’s 2014-15 budget, the city council approved a 2 percent wage increase for city employees.

The week before, a similar increase was approved for the island’s police and firefighters.

On a similar note, in August, island voters approved a tax increase that allowed the Galveston Independent School District to provide a 2 percent wage increase to its employees.

The council’s push for higher wages was led by District 1 Councilman Tarris Woods, who up to the last moments of negotiation pushed for an even higher increase in employee wages.

The rest of the council demurred, with Mayor Jim Yarbrough saying he would prefer the city to conduct a wage study before taking any further actions.

Still, even without going into the details of the how, council members said they supported finding ways to improve wages for people who live and work in Galveston

“There’s more than one way to get lower-paid employees money in their pocket,” District 4 Councilman Norman Pappous said.

“We’ll get the money where the money needs to go on the lower end of the scale.”

At a glance

WHAT: Gulf Coast Interfaith second annual Living Wage Conference
WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Monday
WHERE: St. Patrick Catholic Church Auditorium, 1010 35th St., in Galveston

Celebrate Hard Workers, Fair Bosses

Steve McIntyre. The Galveston Daily News. Monday, September 1, 2014 |The Daily News | A5

All of us have worked for someone who caused us to bite our tongue as he walked by barking another order to do something faster or over one more time. Some of us quit but many of us bit our tongues and kept working day after day. We had to feed ourselves, pay tuition and care for our children.

Along the way some of us were lucky enough to be employed by someone who treated us like human beings. Maybe we didn’t have sick leave, but we could stay home when we were sick and not worry about being fired.

We might get a small pay raise from time to time. These employers asked about our families, and we could take an extra hour for lunch on our birthday. They listened and seriously considered our suggestions. You know what I mean.

If you are lucky enough to work for an employer who treats their workers with respect and dignity, a boss who doesn’t just follow the law but who is genuinely a good and decent and fair human being, let’s celebrate that employer and point to them as an example for others to emulate.


If you would like to anonymously point out that employer to the public, please go to the Gulf Coast Interfaith website at and enter the data in English or Spanish. The information you enter will be reviewed and accumulated, and hopefully around Thanksgiving the result, the best employer in Galveston, will be made public.

It’s The ‘Let Them Eat Cake’ Mentality – Again

Steve McIntyre. The Galveston County Daily News. Monday, August 11, 2014

All of us remember the recent arguments for the way our economic system should be set up.

Some of it leaked out during the last national election. It was loosely based on a fantasy Ayn Rand novel and its heroic job creators and the worthless takers.

Real simple. Easy to reduce to a mindless mob chant or bumper sticker.

It is similar to President Ronald Reagan’s trickle-down economics that flowed from the Laffer curve drawn on the back of a napkin in a fancy restaurant a few decades ago.

Give rich folks a tax break, give them more money and they will wisely and constructively spend their money and the rest of us will prosper.

Before that it was, let’s see, what was it in 1929, was it just another version of “let them eat cake?”

If it is good for all of us to have a system where the rich get richer and richer and the poor get poorer and the middle class slowly vanishes, then why don’t we go all in and go back to the good ole days when 99 percent were serfs and slaves?

Let’s have a king who has all the wealth, along with some loyal dukes, earls and such and the rest of us can work sun up to sun down and at night wait outside the walled and gated castles to scramble around for the promised crumbs when they trickle down to us. Maybe we are closer to the good ole days than we thought.

Shortly after Francis spent his first night as Pope, he said:

“Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world.

“This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system.

“Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting. To sustain a lifestyle which excludes others, or to sustain enthusiasm for that selfish ideal, a globalization of indifference has developed.”

It appears Pope Francis has trouble locating Ronald Reagan’s trickle-down gospel in the Bible. If you are interested in some more interesting comments about the prevailing economic theories of the rich, then Google either: “Pope Francis and economic justice and blind selfish greed” or “Trickle-down economics and destruction of the economy of Kansas.”

You may also want to pick up Tom Piketty’s recently published 600-plus page “Capital” or skim through Standard & Poor’s 22-page Aug. 5 report “How Increasing Income Inequality Is Dampening U.S. Economic Growth, And Possible Ways To Change The Tide.” S&P’s report can be found at Gulf Coast Interfaith’s website.

It is critical to our survival that workers receive decent wages and we all work together to adopt comprehensive and fair policies to defeat the growing income inequality that is beginning to resemble feudal England.

It is my guess Jesus — and Robin Hood — and most modern economists are in agreement about the real need or value of rich and richer kings.

GLO Keeps Tight Hold on Public Housing Site Study

Michael A. Smith. The Galveston County Daily News. Sunday, August 10, 2014

GALVESTON — The Texas General Land Office in mid-July received a study that will largely define how and where more than 300 public housing units will be built on sites scattered around the island.

The report, which focuses on the most controversial aspect of a larger plan that induced profound controversy on the island for more than five years, arrived without fanfare, and the land office will work to keep it from public view.

That tight hold on the information is causing consternation among some who’ve been deeply involved in replacing 569 public housing units demolished after being flooded by Hurricane Ike in 2008. And for some, the report stands as a telling example of how, in an effort to block the rebuilding, civic leaders abdicated both responsibility for and control over a project that could affect every neighborhood in Galveston.

Request filed

The Daily News on Tuesday filed a Texas Public Information Act request for the report, which was paid for with a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The land office would seek to withhold it, however, under a provision in the act exempting from disclosure documents related to potential real estate transactions, Jim Suydam, press secretary to Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, said. Disclosing the report could harm taxpayers by tipping off potential sellers to inflate land prices, he said.

The land office in March awarded WFN Consulting of Marietta, Ga., a $420,000 contract to determine general areas appropriate for the scattered-site public housing units, Suydam said. The consultants reviewed neighborhood census data and assessed such things as the quality of infrastructure and availability of health care and transportation, he said.

The report also was supposed to include a study about “revitalization of the North Broadway neighborhood” and “adjacent low income minority neighborhoods,” according to a resolution approved by the Galveston City Council in September 2012 after long and often heated negotiation with the land office and HUD.

It was unclear last week how deeply the report delved into revitalization issues, however.

Aside from assessing potential public housing sites, the report would help make suggestions about how the city could coordinate building infrastructure with rebuilding public housing, Suydam said.

Seeking details

What was clear last week, however, was that people and groups involved in the long, contentious rebuilding effort were keen for details about the report and that some were feeling shut out of the process.

Texas Low Income Housing Information Services, which was instrumental in Galveston receiving hundreds of millions in federal disaster recovery dollars, sought to have input in, and to learn details about, the consultant’s work, but wasn’t able to, John Henneberger, the group’s co-executive director, said.

“We asked to meet with the consultants but were not allowed to,” he said. “The GLO handled this process completely internally.”

The group finally gave up and moved on to other projects, Henneberger said.

Steven McIntyre, an attorney and member of nonprofit Gulf Coast Interfaith, who has been among the main local advocates in the rebuilding effort, said he was able to arrange a meeting with the firm and the land office.

“A few of us in town met with them a few weeks ago,” he said. “I asked for the meeting and encouraged them to talk to folks north of Broadway and not just to the Chamber of Commerce and people in the government, but people who live and used to live there.”

The consultants listened but didn’t probe for any input from the local delegation, McIntyre said.

He said he had been unable to learn any details about what the consultant’s report recommended.


Mayor Jim Yarbrough said he met with land office officials shortly before taking office in May and left that meeting under the impression that the consultants would be in touch; that never happened. He said he was surprised to learn Wednesday that the consultants had filed a report.

Yarbrough said he intended to contact the land office looking for details about what the consultant recommended.

“There still may be an opportunity to influence the scattered-site part of the plan,” he said.

Interim City Manager Brian Maxwell and other staff members met with the consultants to talk about development along Broadway near mixed-income projects that also are part of the public housing rebuilding effort, spokeswoman Elizabeth Rogers said. The scattered-site public housing units were not part of that discussion, she said.

Not surprised

Former Galveston Housing Authority Board Chairwoman Betty Massey said it wasn’t surprising to her that the report appeared to have been done without much local input. The authority under Massey had supported rebuilding public housing, but opposed doing so with a large number of scattered-site units.

That board instead favored building mixed-income developments like those planned on the sites of the demolished Cedar Terrace and Magnolia Homes projects. Henneberger’s group had favored scattered sites.

Local leaders lost control of the process after the 2012 city council election in which a bloc opposed to rebuilding public housing at all was swept into office, and Massey and her pro-rebuilding colleagues on the authority board were ousted, Massey said. In September 2012, the housing authority struck a deal under which the land office would find a nonprofit developer to build and operate as many as 388 scattered-site public housing units.

The local housing authority now has no role in the scattered-site part of the rebuilding. That same month, the city council agreed to surrender the $500,000 HUD community redevelopment planning grant to the land office. That money was used to pay for the report filed in mid-July.

“They not only ceded our responsibility to provide low-income housing, they abdicated any local control over the biggest part of it,” Massey said. “It was one of the dumbest things ever done in Galveston.”

The land office last week was drafting a request for proposals for nonprofit developers qualified to run the scattered-site effort, Suydam said. Officials hoped to make a selection by the end of September and have the planning work commence by January, he said.

Contact Associate Editor Michael A. Smith at 409-683-5206 or

Workers Shouldn’t Have To Fear Wage Theft

Steve McIntyre. The Galveston County Daily News. Saturday, July 26, 2014

The best anti-poverty program is a job. It is a truism that is not in the Bible but is held by some to be almost as sacred.

It has been a campaign slogan for politicians from both political parties.

It has been repeated by union and corporate leaders.

But when you are living paycheck to paycheck, what happens on payday when your paycheck bounces?

Three years ago on Aug. 31, 2011, The Houston Chronicle ran a story about a group of Galveston men who were not paid their wages.

Most of them were recruited at the Salvation Army and they performed work cleaning condos and apartments on the far West End of Galveston Island.

While some wages were paid after the story ran in the Chronicle, most of the workers struggled to get the rest of their paycheck.

A few weeks later, on Sept. 19, The Chronicle ran a story about the Houston Interfaith Worker Justice Center and its work on behalf of minimum wage workers who more and more frequently face wage theft situations in the Houston area.

Workers who find themselves without a paycheck or their check mysteriously short can consider doing a number of things.

A worker can file a complaint with the Texas Workforce Commission or the U.S. Department of Labor.

They can file a case against the employer in small claims court or retain an attorney to file suit in federal court to enforce the Fair Labor Standards Act guarantee of a minimum wage.

FLSA was created during the Great Depression and is one New Deal law that has not been repealed.

In some circumstances, the worker may consider filing a lien in the county clerk’s office against the employer’s property.

Many of these efforts take time, but often the worker has no time.

There may be instances when a legal picket line or protest outside the employer’s place of business or home may bring quick relief.

Workers may also want to contact more experienced workers who belong to local unions for advice and suggestions on the best way to timely obtain their full paycheck.

There are some who believe the 8th Commandment — Thou shall not steal — should be obeyed and enforced.

There has been a statute on the books for years that has been unevenly enforced around Texas because some elected district attorneys have complained there was vague language that made prosecution difficult.

For whatever reason, the statutory language remained unchanged until El Paso’s Sen. Jose Rodriguez and others passed legislation, which became effective on Sept. 1, 2011, that clarified the language.

Now, reluctant district attorneys around Texas have no excuse for not enforcing the 8th Commandment against stealing.

We owe it to our friends and neighbors who have been struggling paycheck to paycheck to help them receive their paychecks so their families will have a chance of surviving this Great Recession

Steve McIntyre, an attorney, lives in Galveston.

Supreme Court Decision Prompts Houston Area Redistricting Fights

Cindy Horswell. Houston Chronicle. August 23, 2013

The effects of a recent Supreme Court decision weakening the federal Voting Rights Act continued to ripple through the Houston area Thursday, as Pasadena pushed a redistricting plan and civil rights activists criticized a similar push in Galveston.

On Thursday, the Pasadena City Council voted to put on the November ballot a plan to replace two of the city’s eight-single-member districts with two citywide seats. And civil rights activists vowed to fight a redistricting plan in Galveston, while earlier in the week Galveston County slashed the number of justice of the peace and constable districts.

These actions were all previously rejected by the Justice Department as discriminatory.

They are expected to be just the start of renewed attempts to redraw local political districts in Texas – moves that would have been much more difficult before the court decision.

John R. Alford, a Rice University associate professor of political science, said the Supreme Court ruling has opened the floodgates that for four decades were clamped shut and revisits some contentious election issues.

“There’s been a lot of pent-up demand,” he said, as the Voting Rights Act pre-clearance provision previously pre-empted many election changes.

“It’s only been a month since the court’s decision and already the number of cases are growing. These guys were just lying in wait like 6-year-olds before Halloween,” added Michael A. Olivas, a University of Houston law professor specializing in immigration law and serving on the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund board. “They (the elected officials) should have better things to do with their time than this.”

But Joe Nixon – an attorney hired by Galveston County to defend its bid to consolidate its justice of the peace and constable districts and cut half the positions – sees no pending disaster under the new rules. The court’s ruling eliminated the federal government’s pre-clearance requirement for election changes, but he said any plan thought to be discriminatory still can be challenged in court.

Last year, Galveston County commissioners failed to gain pre-clearance for a similar plan to slash the number of justice of the peace and constable positions. One reason cited by the U.S. Justice Department was that the county’s lone minority commissioner had been excluded from drawing up that plan, and that same commissioner said he was unaware of the new plan that’s been adopted.

Large disparities

But Nixon believes that the plan adopted Monday, if challenged, will easily hold up. “The state constitution requires an efficient system of justice. We found some of our nine justices of the peace were only handling one case a day, while others were working very hard and handling the bulk of the case load. When we made a comparison with Harris County,” he said, “we found one justice of the peace whose work in one month equaled what all our nine did in a year.”

Nixon said the reduction of the number justices and constables – to four each – would save the county more than a million dollars a year.

Steve McIntyre, spokesman for Gulf Coast Interfaith, questioned that data, however, and said more study is needed.

The ad hoc group, which includes representatives of the NAACP and others, sent a letter Thursday to the city of Galveston’s attorney also questioning the wisdom of the city seeking to make a change by having two council seats elected city-wide, rather than coming from individual districts. Similar plans were shot down four different times when submitted to the Justice Department for preclearance. In the letter, the ad hoc group said the city is taking the opportunity provided by the court decision “to attack the voting rights of the minority community.”

The letter called the plan part of a “racist onslaught of efforts around America to turn the clock back,” and said that Galveston will be one of the places where there is a “pitched political battle to obtain and maintain equal rights.”

The proposed plan, the group said, would reduce the number of districts in which the majority of the residents were minority from three to two.

A broader view?

But the Galveston council, which has hired an attorney to study the possibility of resurrecting this redistricting plan, believes an at-large councilman will take a broader, rather than parochial, view of the city’s needs.

Similarly, the Pasadena City Council by a narrow 5-4 margin voted Thursday to put a similar proposal to create two at-large districts on its Nov. 5 ballot.

One of two Hispanic councilmen, Cody Ray Wheeler, noted this was the same plan that the Justice Department rejected just last year when pre-clearance was still a requirement. Council members who supported Mayor Johnny Isbell’s plan said it would give citizens more people to vote for.

Wheeler said voters do not know where those boundary lines will be drawn as no map is included. “There’s going to be a lot of back-room deals and conniving,” he said.

Harvey Rice contributed to this story

Justice Rejects Galveston Election Plan

Harvey Rice. Houston Chronicle. October 4, 2011

GALVESTON – The U.S. Justice Department has rejected a Galveston plan to return to a political system that the department had twice rejected as diluting minority voting.

The City Council had asked the Justice Department to withdraw its objections to the plan approved by voters in 1998 that created two at-large seats and four seats elected by precinct.

Assistant U.S. Attorney General Thomas Perez said in a fax Monday to attorney C. Robert Heath, whose Austin firm was hired to design Galveston’s redistricting plan, that the city failed to show that the at-large elections would not weaken minority voting strength.

“It was expected,” said Steve McIntyre, spokesman for Gulf Coast Interfaith, one of four civil rights groups that asked the Justice Department to reject the plan. “It falls in line with what happened with the Clinton Justice Department and the Bush Justice Department.”

Heath agreed that the rejection was expected.

The current system in which six council members are elected from precincts and the mayor at large is the result of a lawsuit settled in 1993. The lawsuit argued that the at-large election system for council members discriminated against minorities.

Perez said the city could appeal the decision to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. “I think the odds are pretty steep if they want to spend money on that,” McIntyre said.

Heath said the council would decide whether to appeal.

Civil Rights Groups Oppose Isle At-large Council Plan

Harvey Rice. Houston Chronicle. May 27, 2011

GALVESTON — Four civil rights groups Friday opposed Galveston’s efforts to return to a political system that the U.S. Justice Department twice has rejected as diluting minority voting influence.

The opposition came in the form of a letter to the Justice Department objecting to a plan approved by voters in 1998, but never implemented, that would create two at-large council seats and four elected by precinct. Under the current system, all six council members are elected from precincts; the mayor is elected citywide.

“The at-large systems have been struck down all over the state of Texas because it discriminates against folks,” said Steve McIntyre, spokesman for Gulf Coast Interfaith.

Other organizations signing the letter are the NAACP, the Galveston County Coalition for Justice and the Galveston Northside Taskforce, a group formed after Hurricane Ike to make sure the black community was not left out of the recovery effort.

‘We can’t get elected’

The president of the local chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens, Anna Olivares, could not be reached for comment, but Gulf Coast Interfaith official Joe Compian said Olivares would submit the letter to her board of directors before signing it.

David Miller, president of the local NAACP chapter, said the at-large seats are discriminatory because most white voters won’t vote for minorities.

“Locally and in Galveston County we can’t get elected,” he said.

The Galveston City Council instructed attorney C. Robert Heath, whose Austin law firm has been hired to design Galveston’s redistricting plan, to ask the Justice Department to withdraw objections it made to the plan twice before, Heath said.

The current system is the result of a lawsuit settled in 1993. The lawsuit argued that the at-large election system used then discriminated against minorities.

Five years later voters amended the city charter to require that two council members be elected at large.

What ‘voters approved’

Heath said the Justice Department under former President Bill Clinton rejected the plan because of the at-large districts. The city resubmitted the plan, known as the 4-2-1 plan, during redistricting for the 2000 census and it was again rejected, this time under former President George W. Bush, he said.

Heath said the city was under no legal obligation to resubmit the 4-2-1 plan, but the council wanted to carry out the will of the voters.

“The council has authorized the submission of a plan because that’s what the voters approved, not because of any preference of theirs,” said City Clerk Douglas Godinich, who is leading citizen participation in designing the redistricting plan.

Chances are slim that the Justice Department will change its mind, said Charles “Rocky” Rhodes, a professor at South Texas School of Law.

“When the Justice Department under two different presidents came to that same conclusion – two presidents coming from different sides of the political spectrum – from that standpoint it seems unlikely that the Justice Department is going to withdraw those objections,” Rhodes said.