Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott four months ago urged Republicans to give former U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay another two years in office. Abbott on Friday urged a federal appeals court to let Republicans replace DeLay on the general election ballot.
R.G. Ratcliffe, Houston Chronicle
Equally misguided is Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott's decision to intervene in the case. He has every right to file a friend of the court brief, but his stated reason shows a slight grasp of the particulars of the case.
A spokeswoman for Abbott said Sparks had declared a portion of the Texas election code unconstitutional. In fact, neither the Democratic Party that sued to keep DeLay on the ballot nor the judge made that argument.
The judge actually ruled that the U.S. Constitution sets eligibility for congressional candidates and that a candidate's residency can be determined only on Election Day. GOP officials had declared DeLay ineligible after he won the party primary but moved his official residence to Virginia. DeLay and his wife continue to maintain their house in Sugar Land.
For the Texas attorney general to use the resources of the state to help his party win a favorable court judgment would be an intolerable conflict of interest. If Abbott does file a brief, it should recognize that Texas law prevents parties from replacing unpopular primary winners such as DeLay with stronger candidates — exactly what the state GOP is trying to do.
Yesterday's story that Attorney General Greg Abbott would file a amicus brief in an effort to have the Fifth Circuit reverse Judge Sam Sparks ruling that Tom DeLay could not be replaced on the ballot ignited quite a bit of conversation, especially among outraged Democrats. They argue that the AG's participation is improper because Sparks' decision did not find Texas law unconstitutional -- the predicate for an Attorney General's intervention.
As part of the trial, Secretary of State Roger Williams' office submitted an amicus letter to the federal district court outlining the time line and mandatory election deadlines that were in play. At the conclusion of the letter, SOS General Counsel James Trainor wrote, "As noted above, the Secretary of State does not currently take a position as to how the court rules on the merits of the case before it."
However, today Williams' spokesman Scott Haywood said that Sparks' ruling had the effect of declaring some part of the statute unconstitutional. Although he had not yet seen the amicus brief, he said the intent of the brief was, " to insure that the election code and the statute is not found as being unconstitutional."
But Democrats are insistent that nothing in Sparks' ruling undermines the statute and argue that something else is at play. The ruling simply enjoins Republican Party of Texas chairman Tina Benkiser from declaring DeLay ineligible and prevents the Secretary of State from certifying any other candidate to be on the ballot.
Quorum Report (7/20/06)
The blogs were quite a bit more direct, as usual:
In what can be called the biggest pair of flip flops ever seen, Greg Abbott rolls over for Tom DeLay, first by urging voters to support DeLay in the primary, then supporting DeLay's right to quit on the voters after the primary.
Bay Area Houston
So why is Greg Abbott using his office to help the GOP avoid the mess DeLay made? Why is the AG writing that Tom DeLay should be allowed to manipulate the law and parties should be allowed to switch out an unpopular candidate in the middle of a race? Why is Abbott kow-towing to lawlessness and electoral chaos?
I bet you David Van Os could tell you why....
The View from 22
Why the state has such a vested interest in making sure DeLay can be replaced is pretty unclear. If the state wanted to make sure the people of CD-22 were represented, Governor Perry should have called on DeLay to resign earlier and set a special election. But, they didn’t take that route, and now the state is doing its best not to live with those consequences.
Under the "Republicans Have Less Shame Than a Pavement Princess" Department, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who is about as worthless as cornflake recipes, filed an amicus brief in favor of -- hold on, now -- the Texas Republican Party.
There are incest laws in this State, dammit.
Juanita's - The World's Most Dangerous Beauty Salon
I wonder what will convince Texans we need a new Attorney General. Greg Abbott is not a friend to Texans (to say he is weak on consumer issues is giving him too much credit), but some people will vote against their own interests. His campaign is bankrolled by his corporate cronies who have him in their pockets (the ever ubiquitous Bob Perry, for one). Some people just ignore that. His latest shenanigans make you wonder if he understands even basic legal issues, which you would think would be in the minimum job requirements for becoming attorney general of a whole state.
Perhaps most revealing is the criticism that comes not from the blogs or the corporate media but from The Conservative Voice:
So of course I decided to look into this Greg Abbott guy. And what do you think I found? Big Oil connections up the wazoo. It appears that Texans have been pressing for some time for Abbott to lay bare his business dealings with one John Colyandro, a central figure in the Tom DeLay-TRMPAC money-laundering scandal who also served on Greg Abbott’s campaign payroll during the same time frame in 2002. Colyandro is also the spokesman for Koch Holdings, LLC, which owns a group of companies engaged in trading, operations and investment worldwide. According to their profile, these companies “have a presence in nearly 60 countries in core industries such as trading, petroleum, energy…” In short, the company is involved, among its many other interests, in Texas crude oil production. ...
There are few things that raise as much frustration and are a threat to our national economy, as well as personal and business finances, as escalating gasoline prices. It’s bad enough when Big Oil itself engages in practices deserving of prosecution under RICO (the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act), but it’s even more heinous when Americans like Greg Abbott - who are beholden to uphold the law - conspire to quash commerce and industry’s efforts to give Americans respite from this national economic crisis.
David Van Os could not have said it any better than that. Well, maybe a little bit better...