AUSTIN — Today, the Texas Public Policy Foundation filed a brief with the Texas Supreme Court, requesting the Court to overturn a recent lower court decision which held that all violations of Article 1, Section 2 of the Texas Bill of Rights are unreviewable by Texas Courts.
The lower court’s unprecedented decision, which applied a federal multi-factored political question test to establish that Article 1, Section 2 of the Texas Bill of Rights is outside the scope of judicial review, raises concerns for all provisions of the Texas Constitution and the Texas Bill of Rights. TPPF’s brief argues that this decision represents a dangerous deviation from established Texas jurisprudence and warrants the attention of the highest court in the Lone Star State.
Article 1, Section 2 of the Texas Bill of Rights states: “All political power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority and instituted for their benefit. The faith of the people of Texas stands pledged to the preservation of a republican form of government, and, subject to this limitation only, they have at all times the inalienable right to alter, reform or abolish their government in such manner as they may think expedient.”
This foundational provision is crucial to the principles upon which Texas was founded and has been consistently interpreted by the Texas judiciary for generations. The Texas Public Policy Foundation contends that the lower court’s ruling, which marks the first instance in Texas history where a provision of the Texas Constitution has been deemed a political question, sets a dangerous precedent that threatens the integrity of the state’s Constitution.
TPPF represents Shana Elliot and Lawrence Kalke, who sued the City of College Station for regulating property outside of its city limits in an area known as its Extraterritorial Jurisdiction (ETJ), without providing any services or voting rights to our clients. This regulation without representation violates Article 1 Section 2’s guarantee of a republican form of government and the lower court’s decision, tossing out their case must be overturned.
“We firmly believe that Article 1, Section 2 of the Texas Bill of Rights is not a political question but a fundamental safeguard of Texans’ liberties,” said Chance Weldon, Director of Litigation at TPPF. “Our brief outlines why the Texas Supreme Court needs to step in to correct the lower court’s erroneous decision.”
“For almost 150 years Texas Courts have faithfully restrained legislatures from violating the People’s right to vote for the people that regulate them,” said Christian Townsend, attorney at TPPF. “There is nothing new that requires the Texas Supreme Court to not do so again.”
TPPF’s petition for review can be accessed here.
Texas Public Policy Foundation is a non-profit free-market research institute based in Austin that aims to foster human flourishing by protecting and promoting liberty, opportunity, and personal responsibility. The Center for the American Future defends the Constitution through legal opposition to government overreach. The Center launches legal challenges at the administrative, district, and appellate court levels on behalf of ordinary people whose lives, liberty, and property are threatened by government action in defiance of the Constitution.