Perry indicted: his lawyers believe case is unconstitutional

On Aug. 15, a grand jury of 12 indicted a Texas governor for the first time since 1917. The indictment was followed by Gov. Rick Perry turning himself into authorities for booking.

In preparation for Perry’s court date, his lawyers have discussed their trial strategy and proposed that the indictment is unconstitutional.

This interpretation is due to the absolute veto power granted to the governor, which Perry’s attorney argues he exercised. 

“Continued prosecution of Governor Perry on the current indictment is unprecedented, insupportable and simply impermissible,” reads the notion for dismissal made by Perry’s attorney David Botsford.

The 1917 indictment of Gov. James “Pa” Ferguson was also tied to the Texas governor’s veto power, but ended with the impeachment of Ferguson. Ferguson and Perry’s lawsuits are akin.

Neena Satija, a reporter for the Texas Tribune, recently wrote a piece about the similarities between Ferguson and Perry. Satija says both were involved with vetoing funding to organizations in Texas. Ferguson’s vetoing of funds to University of Texas led to his impeachment, though he later worked in the governor’s office when his wife was elected to the position.

Perry’s vetoing of funds for the Public Integrity Unit is questionable because it is a force responsible for checking political corruption.

In social media responses, some liberals seemed pleased by the indictment on abuse of power charges, because it seems to admonish greater actions than what it is precisely tied to. This may prove difficult in court, however.

Because they are so vague, abuse of power charges rarely jail indicted individuals, according to reporter Jay Root from his recent article for the Texas Tribune. 

The standards to prove abuse of power are incredibly high, so the case of the prosecution will likely need to emphasize the charge of coercion of a public servant.

Whether your response to the indictment was on the liberal side, the conservative side or simply an amount of awe at the indictment of our state’s governor, you can voice your opinion about it. As the hashtag adage goes, “remember in November.”