The Texas Supreme Court denied a request from Democrats to return their funding to the state legislature.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) vetoed this funding for the state lawmakers in June to stop paychecks from getting to Democrats. Abbott took actions after Dems stalled GOP-backed legislation by not attending votes on the bills, preventing quorum, and blocking the House from its usual business.
Soon after Abbott removed the funding, Democrats petitioned the State Supreme Court to step in and overturn Abbott’s veto of their funding. The court denied this request, saying that these Democrats requested that the court deal with something that is not between two coequal government branches, but in one branch, the legislature, and outside of their purview.
“While in DC, Democrats met with members of the Biden White House and Congress to urge the passage of federal laws on voting and have had public meetings to bring attention to their message,” the court said. “They have publicly said that the importance of defeating the GOP-supported elections bill justified their departure from Texas and stopping quorum even though it prevented the State House from bringing back Article X funding. They have not come back to the House to allow it to go on with its business. The GOP House members, for their part, have insisted the elections bill be passed and perhaps other priorities before deal with the Article X funding. On August 6, the special session expired.”
“These public comments and events make it certain that the topic of the petition for writ of mandamus — the absence of Article X funding — is not due to a dispute between the Legislature and Governor. Instead, the real dispute is among the lawmakers,” the court ruled.
The court also stress that most of the members in the GOP-controlled legislature support Abbott’s agenda.
“Although the Governor wants to advance the legislation he favors, most members of the Legislature support this same legislation. Relator House members are against that legislation and have broken quorum to push their opposition,” the court ruled. “They have chosen to make themselves absent to prevent passage of voting legislation.”
“This dispute inside the legislative branch is not about separation of powers and we cannot decide it,” the court said.
Author: Scott Dowdy