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Sunday, August 17, 2014

Abuse Of Power

Chait et al might be absolutely right that the Perry indictment has a snowball's chance of ending in conviction, but RMJ is closer to my thinking.  

Governors of course have the power to veto, but if they direct threats toward non-legislative entities who are investigating the executive branch, that is arguably coercion and abuse of their power.  Not unlike, say...police who wield their power to arrest somebody for bleeding on their uniforms after beating the crap out of him.

I mean, what is abuse of power, but using a power you have and, you know, abusing it?  If your argument against the indictment rests on the obvious fact that somebody has a particular power, all you've done is trivially identify a necessary, not sufficient condition--abuse of power implies there is power to abuse.


August 17, 2014 | Permalink


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A) Chait clearly stands in a long line of non-lawyers and non-prosecutors who are more Catholic than the Pope, because they know far less. He misreads the statutes (Perry doesn't sit on a governing body, so he's not exempt from the reach of the statutes. He also didn't threaten the legislature with his veto, he specifically addressed a public official engaged in an investigation of an agency populated with Perry cronies and near and dear to the hearts of Perry donors.

Perry didn't threaten the legislature to cut funding because he wanted to lower government spending, he did it to coerce a public official to quit her job, or to get other officials to force her to quit. And he alone had the power to replace her, with someone more to his liking (and how might drop those nasty investigations he didn't like).

Change the facts, change the outcome.

B) Chait can read the statutes until the cows come home; what he can't do it understand them the way a judge will. Chait also says Perry's threat and veto were both "reasonable." That is what the lawyers call a "question of fact." Those go to a jury, a trier of fact. The jury determines whether Perry was reasonable, or not.

And that's why we have trials. If a Texas jury decides Perry's actions were not reasonable, then as a matter of law, they were not. But Jonathan Chait's decision in the matter, matters not a bean to the judiciary of Texas.

Nor should it.

Posted by: Rmj | Aug 17, 2014 3:03:40 PM

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