Monday, November 06, 2006

De-Fund the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals?

That's the solution touted yesterday by the Austin Statesman editorial board ("Legislature should starve appeals court," Nov. 5). The idea is as provocative as it is justified, but also politically tone deaf. (The Statesman editorial board has suggested dismantling the court before.) There's just no political will at the Texas Legislature to starve out statewide GOP officeholders, even ones who've publicly disgraced themselves and the state the way the Court of Criminal Appeals has done. That doesn't mean they don't deserve it.

A better idea would have been for Democrats to run candidates agains these ne'er-do-wells and give voters a choice to toss the bums out. I've argued for years the Court of Criminal Appeals judges are the weakest link in Republicans' statewide political armor. This sure seems like it would have been a good year to test those weak spots, but D pessimists missed the opportunity. The public was ill-served by their abdication.


mtspace said...

Do I understand this correctly: We have a government institution that serves an absolutely essential function and instead of fixing it so that it can function correctly, we are going to eliminate it?

If the State Supreme Court works so well in comparison, why? Is it because of the way it is constituted? Is is because of the selection process? Or is it because it takes itself more seriously? More specifically: Is it possible that the presumption of innocence carries more weight in Southern Society when it is a person of social standing or political clout than it does when "riff raff" are being tried? And if the answer to this is negative, then why are Texas prisons so crowded with people waiting to stand trial? Why is it things just keep getting ever more surreal?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Like I say, I'd rather just un-elect the bums, if somebody'd give me an option to do it.

Anonymous said...

The CCA does NOT play an "absolutely essential" function. Most states don't have one. Texas does because the ex-Confederates who wrote the state constitution knew the Union had made controlling each state's Supreme Court a priority, so they segregated Texas' criminal appeals from Yankee control so they could begin what became the Jim Crow practice of using the crmiminal justice system as a means of racial repression.

We don't need it. De-fund it. Abolish it. Whaterver. Let's just be done with it. Bad history. Bad present. Nothing but a bad future ahead if it continues.