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Supreme Court will review Open Beaches ruling

This is encouraging.

Faced with a tidal wave of legal protests, the Texas Supreme Court Friday agreed to reconsider a California woman’s lawsuit that ended in a controversial ruling last November that left public access to some beaches in question.

The court’s decision to reopen the Carole Severance case — oral arguments will begin April 19 — came at the behest of Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson.

Harris County and the city of Galveston joined 18 other area counties, cities and chambers of commerce in submitting friend of the court briefs supporting Patterson.

“This is nothing less than a second chance for the Texas Open Beaches Act,” Patterson said in a statement. “Public access to the beach is a Texas tradition that predates the Republic. Today’s decision by the court to take another look at its decision in this case is great news.”

Houston lawyer Barry Abrams, who acted as outside counsel for the city of Galveston in filing an amicus brief, credited the “fire storm of controversy” and the large number of entities filing briefs supporting Patterson with convincing the court to revisit its ruling.

“Hopefully,” he said, “this will reaffirm the public’s long-honored rights to use coastal beaches that the prior decision disrupted.”

See here, here, here, and here for some background. According to the Statesman’s Austin Legal blog, “Motions to rehear are rarely granted and hard to decipher, sometimes resulting in changed rulings, sometimes in nothing more than minor factual or technical corrections to the original opinion.” As such, no one should get their hopes up too much just yet. It’s nice to see, but it may turn out to be nothing.

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  1. Cynthia Vohs says:

    Texas beaches should remain open. If you begin to close Texas beaches you will eventually change the entire Texas culture into a culture that duplicates California. California is known for greedy beach owners that want to keep a part of nature that belongs to Texas citizens. The Texas Parks Department along with the Texas Birding Trail share the Texas beaches with the Texas citizens and have done so for an eternity. If you change the culture or the open Texas Beaches law you are discriminating against citizens that do not have the please, time or opportunity to purchase their own piece of beach due to obligations elsewhere such as the need to work downtown causing a need to live near town in order to support and feed a family. If you close Texas Beaches not only are you changing Texas culture, but you will be discriminating against hundred of people. If you close Texas Open Beaches law you open the door to having construction on beaches that cannot support the structure of construction. You open doors to changing the financial aspect of all of the Texas coastline and Texas citizens. You cannot change the Texas Open Beaches law. You will have a discrimination lawsuit if you do. You will eventually endanger wildlife by closing Texas Beaches law. You will isolate people, and take away the state’s motto “The Friendly State.” Changing the Texas Open Beaches law would be a mistake as big as California.

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