BTW, Rick Perry Was Indicted This Week, Too
…Possibly without much foundation.
The liberal blogosphere appears to be coming to that conclusion, and obviously the conservasphere is already there. [EDIT: Decide for yourself: indictment here (h/t @zic). Bit of background here. I haven’t found a good, patient case from a conservative for why this is so ill-founded, so obviously do they take it to be so. (I also looked for a backgrounder from a less partisan source than Think Progress, but that one by Ian Millhiser is by far the best one that I’ve see.) The skeptical case against it as voiced by liberals can be read here or here or here.]
Clearly it depends on the specifics of Texas law, and constitutional law. But I’m struggling with the idea that a law preventing a governor from doing what Perry has done here is all that problematic, whether or not it’s constitutional in Texas. (And it’s a matter of argument whether existing law even does that.)
Sure, the Texas constitution clearly gives him the power to exercise the line-item veto almost completely as he sees fit. But does that mean that he’s clearly empowered to use the threat to do so to try to dictate to various local governments who should occupy their offices? It’s surely a sympathetic cause to remove the occupant of the office of DA of Travis County in the case of Ms. Lehmberg, but how do you distinguish that situation from one where another governor simply does’t like who’s serving in an office for political reasons? Is this actually a use of the veto that you would want your state’s constitution to protect in the abstract?
Now, maybe this is exactly a power that the Texas constitution provides to the Texas governor. (I’d be interested if anyone here has a clear view of that.) But if it didn’t, and it allowed a law against that to be used this way, is there any reason you’d be unhappy with that as a citizen of Texas? It does’t seem to me that I particularly want my governor to be able to hold the potential use of the line item veto in his pocket to use as a threat to assist him in trying to wield power over who holds what political offices throughout the state.
I’m curious about everyone’s thoughts on this.