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Sunday, August 2, 2015

The Line Item Veto and Governor Perry

For John, BLUFIf a Governor can be sued over his or her veto, the veto is weakened.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

We may have forgotten that GOP Presidential Candidate Rick Perry, former Governor of Texas, was indicted over his use of his veto power.  Here is Law Professor Eugene Volokh, back on 24 July, on the issue.  The legalese may bore you, but it is a short item in his column, "The Volokh Conspiracy", in The Washington Post and it is important in that it helps us understand how far a Governor may go with his or her line item veto.

"The remaining count of the Rick Perry prosecution, and how it unconstitutionally intrudes on the Governor’s veto power".

Governor Perry exercised his line-item veto and stepped on some toes.  Here is how Professor Volokh describes it:

Count I of the indictment essentially alleges that Governor Perry violated Section 39.02(a)(2) of the Texas Penal Code when he vetoed a bill that would have funded the continued operation of the Public Integrity Unit of the Travis County District Attorney’s office.  The prosecution alleges that Governor Perry exercised this veto “with intent to harm another” — namely, District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg and the Public Integrity Unit.
In plain English, Ms Rosemary Lehmberg violated some laws, involving drinking and driving, and the Public Integrity Unit failed to take action.  Breaking it down even further, Ms Lehmberg should have been fired and the ones who should have done it was the Public Integrity Unit, but there was corruption.  Governor Perry dealt with it by defunding the bunch of them.  They sued.

One of the counts was thrown out on the face of it.  This second needs to be appealed, and Professor Volokh thinks it too will die.

I hope so.

Regards  —  Cliff

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