Reading Kathy Shaidle’s WND column about what the major talk radio hosts discussed on their programs I was struck by the following report: “Limbaugh praised Texas Gov. Rick Perry for the nonchalant way he dealt with being indicted.” Now the word “nonchalant” literally conveys the impression of someone who is dealing with something in a manner that is cool, almost casual, as if to say “This is no big deal. It causes me no great concern.” Before praising Perry for taking this attitude, doesn’t it make sense to think about whether or not he ought to be concerned?
Apparently Limbaugh thinks it makes sense since he goes on to point out that it involves a down side for Perry’s image: “…he’s always gonna have the word ‘indicted’ now in every headline, and he’s gonna have a mug shot in every story, although I don’t think he will. Because he’s learned there are ways…to do a mug shot to make it look like an official portrait.” Thus obliquely, Limbaugh raises the fact that Perry isn’t just another random “mugger.” He is the Governor of Texas. But Limbaugh alludes to it as if it’s mainly a matter of image or personal appearance.
Given the debased character of the media’s way of dealing with matters pertaining to government these days, people accept this superficial way of discussing political events, without a second thought. But the fact that Rick Perry is the Governor of Texas isn’t just a matter of his “image”. It’s a matter of his sworn oath of office in which he promised to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States and of this State [Texas], so help me God.”
Now, like the U.S. Constitution the constitution of the State of Texas (Article 2, Sec. 1) provides that “The powers of the Government of the State of Texas shall be divided into three distinct departments, each of which shall be confided to a separate body of magistracy…and no person, or collection of persons, being of one of these departments, shall exercise any power properly attached to either of the others, except in the instances herein expressly permitted.”
This has a direct bearing on the indictment brought against Gov. Perry. The Texas Constitution (Article 15, Sec. 1)expressly states that “The power of impeachment shall be vested in the House of Representatives” of the Texas legislature. Impeachment is the presentation of charges against a public official, particularly in respect of the use or abuse of the powers associated with the office they hold. Now the Travis County District Attorney purports to have brought an indictment against Gov. Perry for abusing the veto power associated with his office as Governor. Thus obviously, where the Governor is concerned, the indictment involves the power of impeachment, a power the Texas Constitution vests exclusively in the Legislative Department, and in particular, the Texas House of Representatives.
Unless there is a provision of the Texas Constitution that expressly permits the Travis County DA to exercise the impeachment power over the Governor, the DA’s use of that power improperly usurps the constitutional prerogative of the House of Representatives, in explicit violation of the Texas Constitution.
Since Gov. Perry is sworn to preserve, protect and defend the constitution of Texas, his proper reaction was not to present himself to authorities acting pursuant to a constitutional violation. His duty to preserve and protect the prerogative of the State Legislature requires him to refuse to do so, and to regard the DA’s move to indict him as null and void. Article 15, Section 4 of the State’s constitution clearly provides that “a party convicted on impeachment shall also be subject to indictment, trial and punishment according to law.” Hence, in this case any indictment in Travis County must await the outcome of trial by the Texas State Senate, if and when such trial is occasioned by a bill of impeachment properly approved in the Texas House.
Given this constitutional logic, should Gov. Perry be praised for aiding and abetting the Travis County DA’s usurpation of power by complying with her plainly unlawful act? Or does his action serve notice that, whatever effect it has on his image, he has purposely or by reason of some deficiency in his understanding of constitutional logic, fallen short of the substantive duty associated with the office he holds?
In any time but our own I would simply dismiss the idea that his ill-considered compliance is the result of a conscious decision. But at the national level, the leadership of the GOP wing of the elitist faction has willfully dismissed the constitutional logic that vests the people of the United States with the power, through their legislative representatives, to call the Chief Executive to account for abuses of power. They seek a system in which the judicial branch (which the elitist faction largely influence) deals with the abuses of an executive (whom they also now greatly influence,) cutting out the will of the people as expressed in legislative elections, which the elitist faction does not yet reliably control.
Yet under the U.S. Constitution it is the electoral will of the people that is supposed to be the ultimate arbiter of constitutional power. The impeachment power, like periodic elections and the institution of trial by a jury, is one of the features that critically distinguishes and preserves the republican form of government established by the founders of the United States.
For that very reason, those who aim to overthrow our republican form of government have a strong interest in precedents that will encourage people to think the impeachment power is irrelevant and obsolete. In this respect, Gov. Perry’s compliance with the Travis County DA’s constitutionally illogical and unlawful indictment is logically similar to U.S. House Speaker John Boehner’s self-incriminating effort to bring charges against Obama to the Federal Judiciary even though, the U.S. Constitution gives the power to try such charges to the U.S. Senate.
In both cases, the effective result is to cut the people out of their role as the ultimate arbiters of the use and abuse of the powers of government in the constitutional republic established by their good will. It would be severely imprudent for Americans to ignore this coincidence, for there is no guarantee that it is one. In that respect, it had better serve instead as a warning of the insidious nature of the elitist faction’s war against our liberty.
UPDATE (8/25/2014): Gov. Perry apparently is aware of the constitutional logic presented in this post. According to a story at newsmax.com he filed papers today that “asked a state judge to throw out his indictment…as an assault on the state government’s separation of powers.” Given this awareness it’s hard to understand why he would take actions that subject the office he holds to the judgment of a court that has, according to the Texas constitution, no constitutional power to try any charges against him.
Without in any way subjecting himself to a falsely asserted authority, he should have simply asked the Texas Attorney General to notify the court of his refusal to accept an assertion of jurisdiction that is contrary to the Texas constitution’s plainly stated vestment of power in the Texas Legislature. By doing otherwise, his words say one thing, his actions another.
G0vernor Perry now faces an awkward question: If and when the Judge rejects his argument re the violation of the separation of powers, will he continue to participate in what he knows to be an unconstitutional judicial proceeding, one that usurps the constitutional role of the elected representatives of the people? If he does, he will prove himself unfit for the office he holds, much less the higher office he is reportedly being groomed to pursue.