Last week I wrote a post regarding Dan Branch’s announcement for attorney general, in which I lamented whether candidates will ever again run for higher office by explaining how they will execute the specific duties of that office. Branch took exception to my analysis and has sent in this letter, which I will publish in its entirety.
I could not disagree more with the recent post “As Attorney General, I Promise to . . . ” As our state’s supreme court made clear 70 years ago this month, “the Attorney General is the chief law officer of the State, and it is incumbent upon him to institute in the proper courts proceedings to enforce or protect any right of the public that is violated.”
In that same spirit, I stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Attorney General Greg Abbott in his belief that there is no greater threat to the constitutional rights of all Texans than this overreaching federal government.
As if to prove this very point, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced just last week that he would file suit to forbid Texas from making any improvements to our state election laws (such as voter ID laws and other laws to combat voter fraud) without the advance permission of the Obama Administration. This is one of the most breathtaking examples yet of the Obama Administration’s persistent and unrelenting assault on Texas, as I detailed in my recent op-ed published by the Dallas Morning News.
I recognize that I am particularly sensitive when it comes to constitutional attacks on our state’s sovereignty, whether from D.C. bureaucrats or activist judges. As a young lawyer in 1985, I was profoundly disturbed when the U.S. Supreme Court in Wallace vs. Jaffree struck down a state law giving students the right to pray at the beginning of each school day. I vowed that, if I ever had the chance to fight back against the forces of judicial activism, and against the forces of hostility to people of faith, I would do it. And in 2003, during my first term in the Texas House of Representatives, I did just that. I sponsored legislation to return a daily moment of silence and opportunity for prayer to our public school classrooms. The law was, predictably, attacked in federal court. But I worked with General Abbott and his office to defend the law—and Texas won.
The next Texas Attorney General must have the fortitude, legal experience, and credibility to defend the constitutional rights of all Texans.