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].


‘Almost Akin to a Political Coup’: Houston Teachers Fight Back Against State Takeover of HISD

In a last-ditch effort to stop a state takeover of Texas’ largest school district, the Houston teachers union is suing the state for disenfranchising voters of color.

The fight over the future of Houston’s public school system escalated this week when the local teachers union joined a federal voting rights lawsuit against the state. The legal challenge is part of a last-ditch effort to stop the state … Read More

Texas Governor Greg Abbott writes notes before a gubernatorial debate against his Democratic challenger Lupe Valdez at the LBJ Library in Austin, Texas, on Friday, Sept. 28, 2018. (Nick Wagner/Austin American-Statesman via AP, Pool)
Criminal Justice

On Rodney Reed Case, Greg Abbott Gets a Political Reprieve

A last-minute court intervention relieved political pressure on the Texas governor, who was ultimately able to keep his capital punishment bona fides intact.

As Rodney Reed’s November 20 execution date drew closer, all eyes turned to Governor Greg Abbott. When new evidence surfaced casting doubt on Reed’s conviction for the 1996 rape and murder that put him on death row, it quickly drew … Read More

Shannon Hutcheson
Texas 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
Texas 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)
Texas 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

Texas 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.
Texas 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)
Texas Legislature

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.
Texas 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