I have long been critical of the indictment of former Texas Governor Rick Perry. Two years ago, Perry was indicted by a grand jury in Austin on charges of abuse of power. The charges stem from Perry carrying out a threat to veto funding the budget for the Travis County Public Integrity Unit, which handles political corruption investigations. The charges have now been dismissed but I remain concerned that such charges were brought in the first place.
District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg had been arrested for drunk driving and was widely criticized for her conduct while in custody. She refused to resign even after been sentenced to jail and Perry carried out his threat. I have been critical of Perry in the past and I believe that his veto was wrongheaded. However, I viewed the indictment as deeply troubling on a separation of powers basis and the result of the extension of criminal provisions with tangential applicability to this type of dispute.
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled that the actions against Perry was unconstitutional in limiting the veto power and that prosecuting Perry over his action violates “the separation of powers provision of the Texas Constitution.” It further found that the action infringed on Perry’s First Amendment right to freedom of speech.
Here is the opinion: Ex Parte Rick Perry