Justin Miller

Justin Miller is the politics reporter for the Observer. He previously covered politics and policy for The American Prospect in Washington, D.C., and has also written for The Intercept, The New Republic and In These Times. Follow him on Twitter or email him at [email protected].

By Justin Miller:

Shannon Hutcheson
Politics

Texas Congressional Candidate Shannon Hutcheson Defended Corporations Against the Vulnerable. EMILY’s List Endorsed Her Anyway.

Shannon Hutcheson has billed herself as a fierce reproductive rights advocate. But the corporate lawyer has papered over a troubling record, including her defense of a prison guard who sexually abused migrant women.

After working at the prestigious corporate law firm Baker Botts for more than a decade, Shannon Hutcheson decided to hang out a shingle of her own. Along with a colleague, in 2011 she started the women-owned boutique law firm Hutcheson … Read More

Rick Perry
Politics

Rick Perry Exports His Pay-to-Play Politics to Ukraine

Perry has talked about his aspirations for Ukraine to become “the Texas of Europe.” On the corporate cronyism front, he may just have succeeded.

It appears that Rick Perry exported his pay-to-play politics from the Texas governor’s mansion to the notoriously corrupt Ukrainian oil and gas sector, where, as President Donald Trump’s energy secretary, he has played an outsized role in opening up the … Read More

President Donald Trump speaks as he tours the U.S. border with Mexico Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019, in McAllen, Texas, as Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, listens. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
Politics

‘Nobody’s Beating You,’ Trump Assures John Cornyn

Our state’s senior senator continues to hitch himself to Trump’s wagon, even as things get rocky.

John Cornyn might as well fire his entourage of political consultants, advisors, and pollsters. President Donald Trump—the pollster of the people, the one who triumphed in the only poll that matters, Election Day—is confident the Texas senior senator’s political future … Read More

Politics

Will a High-Stakes Suburban Houston State House Race Give Texas Dems 2020 Vision?

A sole suburban legislative seat in Texas is up for grabs in November, providing a glimpse at Democrats’ 2020 effort to expand control of the suburbs and take control of the state House.

Before the 2018 midterms, Texas Democrats targeted a long list of state House Republicans in urban and suburban seats that were won—or nearly won—by Hillary Clinton in 2016. But House District 28 in suburban Houston was nowhere near the top … Read More

“Nothing will erase the pain of August 3 and we are hopeful that reopening the store will be another testament to the strength and resiliency that has characterized the El Paso community in the wake of this tragedy,” a Walmart spokesperson told the New York Times in late August.
Politics

‘El Paso Will Never Heal’: Three Months Later, the Border Town Still Reels

El Pasoans share the deep and expansive trauma that the Walmart massacre has inflicted, and they’re urging lawmakers to take action.

Faded American, Mexican, Texas, and German flags ripple in the wind and a single wind chime softly clinks at a makeshift memorial at the Walmart in El Paso where a white supremacist killed 22 people and injured two dozen more on … Read More

In this Jan. 9, 2019 file photo Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen waves to reporters after speaking at a news conference at the Governor's Mansion in Austin, Texas. The Texas House Republican caucus has condemned Bonnen and Republican Rep. Dustin Burrows for secretly recorded comments asking a conservative group to target 10 GOP lawmakers in the 2020 primaries, calling a female lawmaker "vile" and saying President Donald Trump is "killing us" in pivotal state races. (Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP, file)
Politics

Bonnen’s Downfall Proves Politicians Don’t Mind Dirty Laundry—So Long as It’s Never Aired

The Texas House Speaker announced his resignation, becoming another example of the trite adage: it’s the cover-up, not the crime.

The political scandal known as Bonnghazi has, over the past couple months, slowly engulfed House Speaker Dennis Bonnen. After having outmaneuvered and marginalized right-wing provocateur Michael Quinn Sullivan and his group Empower Texans during his first term as speaker, Bonnen … Read More

High school students Celeste Lujan, left, and Yasmin Natera, right, mourn their friend, Leilah Hernandez, one of the victims of the August 31 shooting in Odessa.
Politics

Will Dan Patrick’s Bare-Minimum Effort for Gun Control Go Anywhere?

By supporting expanded background checks for private sales between strangers, Patrick has quickly become a conservative non grata.

Days after a man drove through Midland and Odessa, shooting his AR-15-style rifle out his window at bystanders and killing seven people, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick issued what was seen as a potentially monumental breakthrough in the state’s gridlocked politics … Read More

Politics

Michael Quinn Sullivan’s Recorded Conversation with Speaker Bonnen Exposes the Texas GOP for What It’s Always Been 

The secret recording confirms the cynicism, vindictiveness, and ugliness at the heart of the Republican politics.

In June, Empower Texans leader Michael Quinn Sullivan revealed that he had secretly recorded a meeting with House Speaker Dennis Bonnen during which, the right-wing hardliner alleged, the speaker presented  him with a quid pro quo proposition: the Speaker would … Read More

pete sessions, starkly contrasted in black and white with a dark red pattern intersecting his profile
Politics

How Pete Sessions Became ‘Congressman-1’

The powerful former Dallas congressman and GOP leader was trying to swim back to the swamp. Instead, he got sucked into it.

Former Dallas Congressman Pete Sessions’ attempt at a political comeback in a new congressional district was already embattled. When Sessions announced his campaign for the 17th Congressional District in Waco in early October, some local Republicans said he was a … Read More

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