The recent indictment of Texas Governor Rick Perry has drawn the ridicule and ire of pundits and analysts from both sides of the aisle (even David Axelrod thinks the indictment is “sketchy,”) but Team Perry isn’t taking any chances when it comes to the Governor’s legal defense.
Perry has hand-picked his counsel from the A-list of defense lawyers.
The team, led by Houston attorney Tony Buzbee, seems to be in complete control of the stacked deck of evidence suggesting that not only was Perry justified in threatening to veto funding from the (now-ironically named) Public Integrity Unit, but that it would have been a scandal not to do so.
“Governor Perry did what anyone else would do,” Buzbee said. “Anyone who sees that video” would have “lost confidence” in Lehmberg.
That said, the lawyers argued that the governor had no legal obligation to offer any rationale for his veto, which they insisted was protected the basic constitutional principle of separation of powers.
“This is nothing more than banana republic politics” and a “nasty attack” on the “rule of law,” Buzbee insisted.
And Perry’s explanation of his veto, Buzbee added, was protected under the “right to free speech under the First Amendment.”
Birchfield called the indictment “an attempt to criminalize politics, pure and simple,” while Ginsberg warned that it could “set a harmful precedent in separation of powers doctrine.”
D.C.-based courtroom lawyer Bobby Birchfield is absolutely right, and hits the nail on the head with his emphasis on the separation of powers. Especially in this aspect, the rule of law is on Governor Perry’s side. As Buzbee said in the press conference, the Governor had no legal obligation to provide anyone with an explanation of his line-item veto targeting PIU funding (although you can find analysis for most gubernatorial vetoes in Texas here.)
The fact that he did indeed speak out against Rosemary Lehmberg’s misconduct was not only protected by the First Amendment, but a public service: the people have a right to know when the person prosecuting her fellow citizens ends up face first in a bottle of vodka behind the wheel of a car. Most importantly, the fact that the Governor offered rationale for his veto does not negate the Constitutional protections given the Governor with regards to his veto power.
Although Perry’s team did acknowledge that at some point the Governor will have to appear in court, they’re not mincing words when it comes to transparency. During the press conference, the team did not shy away from the reality of the criminal indictment, and indicated that they would keep the press informed as the case progresses.
Governor Perry’s first appearance in court is scheduled for August 29th.DONATE
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