Abbott Vows To Pardon Man Who Killed BLM Protestor While Case Is Still Pending

INSIDE: Harlan Crow ... Clarence Thomas ... Richard Blumenthal
Texas Governor Greg Abbott speaks to the press on the grounds of Santa Fe High School on May, 20, 2018, in Santa Fe, Texas. - Ten people, mostly students, were killed when a teenage classmate armed with a shotgun an... Texas Governor Greg Abbott speaks to the press on the grounds of Santa Fe High School on May, 20, 2018, in Santa Fe, Texas. - Ten people, mostly students, were killed when a teenage classmate armed with a shotgun and a revolver opened fire at the school on May 18. The gunman, arrested on murder charges, was identified as Dimitrios Pagourtzis, a 17-year-old junior at Santa Fe High School. He is being held on capital murder charges, meaning he could face the death penalty. (Photo by Brendan SMIALOWSKI / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images) MORE LESS
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A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo.

Swift Injustice

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) is vowing to pardon a man convicted Friday of killing a Black Lives Matter protestor …. before the man is even sentenced or has appealed his conviction.

Under pressure from Tucker Carlson and fellow Republicans, Abbott made the announcement on Twitter less than 24 hours after Daniel Perry was found guilty of shooting Garrett Foster at a protest in Austin in the summer of 2020.

“I will work as swiftly as Texas law allows regarding the pardon of Sgt. Perry,” he said.

The highly public move by Abbott while the case is still pending and before the case was reviewed by Abbott or his pardon board was extraordinary:

Abbott lacks authority under state law to issue a pardon without first getting a recommendation from the Board of Pardons and Paroles, whose members he appoints. In his statement, Abbott said he already asked the board to review the verdict to determine if Perry should be granted a pardon.

“I have made that request and instructed the board to expedite its review,” Abbott said. “I look forward to approving the board’s pardon recommendation as soon as it hits my desk.”

The jury’s unanimous guilty verdict came after 17 hours of deliberations over two days following an eight-day trial.

“David Wahlberg, a former Travis County criminal court judge, said he cannot think of another example in the state’s history when a governor sought a pardon before a verdict was formally appealed,” the Austin Statesman reported.

A dual system of justice — one for Republican partisans and another for everyone else — is emerging as another threat to the rule of law in the Trump era.

Do Better

Bill Barr should not be used by TV nets as a political or legal commentator. It’s an egregious abdication of journalistic obligations.

If you want to treat him as witness and bad actor, have at it. There’s plenty to work with there. A sample of how to do it:

The Week That Was

Happy Easter???

What possibly makes you think there’s anything wrong with this man?

It’s Not Just Trump

This Politico headline captures the current GOP:

“GOP embraces a new foreign policy: Bomb Mexico to stop fentanyl”

Harlan Crow And Nazi Memorabilia

The buzziest weekend news was centered two weird fascinations of billionaire GOP donor Harlan Crow, the guy who’s been buddy-buddy for years with Clarence Thomas and giving him free access to his private yacht and jet.

The Dallas Morning News resurfaced some of its own old reporting on Crow, specifically:

  • “His backyard garden is home to sculptures of fallen Communist icons and dictators, including Vladimir Lenin, Josef Stalin, Fidel Castro, Karl Marx and Che Guevara.”
  • “His Preston Road home hosts a collection of … paintings by Adolf Hitler.”

As Washingtonian points out, his Nazi collection goes well beyond some of Hitler’s paintings.


Dahlia Lithwick and Mark Joseph Stern: Clarence Thomas Broke the Law and It Isn’t Even Close

About That Intel Leak …

WSJ: New Details on Intelligence Leak Show It Circulated for Weeks Before Raising Alarm

Fascinating Showdown

TPM’s Kate Riga on the dueling judicial rulings late Friday on abortion pills that set the stage for a major legal fight over access to abortion even in blue states.

Fox News Settles Lesser-Known Defamation Case

In a filing over the weekend, Fox News and former host Lou Dobbs revealed they had settled the defamation case brought by a Venezuelan businessman whom the network linked to voting-system fraud in the 2020 election. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed. Fox News is scheduled to go to trial next week in Dominion Voting Systems’ billion-dollar defamation lawsuit.

Shove It Back In Their Faces

Early signs are that the two Black Democratic legislators expelled by the GOP-controlled Tennessee House will be appointed to fill their own empty seats.

Senator Breaks Leg In Freak Parade Accident

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) broke his femur during the weekend parade in Hartford celebrating UConn’s national championship in men’s basketball. The 77-year-old underwent surgery and is recovering.

A Tale Of Two Lakes

The Great Salt Lake: The extraordinary amount of snowfall this winter in Utah has brought the Great Salt Lake back from the brink and bought some additional time to implement water policies to preserve it.

Tulare Lake: Similarly, heavy precipitation this winter in California has reformed the historic Tulare Lake in the Central Valley of California, which went dry in the 20th century as water was diverted for agriculture.

The Mother Of All Real Estate Bubbles

IN FLIGHT- AUGUST 30: The death toll left by Hurricane Katrina topped 80.  (Photo by Dave Einsel/Getty Images)
A neighborhood east of downtown New Orleans remains flooded August 30, 2005 in New Orleans, Louisiana, after Hurricane Katrina. (Photo by Dave Einsel/Getty Images)

If the climate change real estate bubble isn’t on your radar, it should be.

The scientific community is well aware of the risk climate change poses to property values along the coasts and in flood- and storm-prone areas. But there’s little evidence that real estate markets have priced in those risks yet.

It looks to be setting up like a classic bubble-busting scenario, where everyone realizes all at once that their real estate is “under water” and prices plummet accordingly. I’ve been curious what the tipping point will be. Storms like Katrina and Sandy were harbingers of the new climate reality, but by themselves weren’t enough to shift development patterns. Insurers have been pulling out of some especially risky areas for years, another early sign of what’s to come, but not enough of a clarion call to shift markets more broadly.

You can imagine a controlled, intentional policy-based approach to addressing the new catastrophic risks real estate values faces, but there’s nothing happening right now on the scale necessary to deal with the problem.

So it looks like we’re going to run off the cliff like Wile E. Coyote, with our legs spinning helplessly for a moment before we plummet.

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