Elections Have Consequences: Texas

 

You have doubtless heard of the hair salon owner who defied the diktats, based in wildly unscientific fear-mongering, of Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins. For Texas counties, that is the top elected position. A black-robed minion under him, a trial judge, also let the mask slip on camera, in his entirely unprofessional treatment of Shelley Luther. Now the Texas Supreme Court has sprung Shelley Luther from jail and Governor Abbott’s new executive order has slammed the door on any further tin-pot thugs dragging people off to jail for allegedly violating a COVID-19 emergency executive order. Elections have consequences.

Clay Jenkins is a Democrat, behaving as Democrats will when they become comfortable that their electorate will never throw them out for a Republican. The fear shifts to attacks from the left, covered by moving enough left to keep winning. So, the residents of Dallas County have exactly the government for which they voted or failed to vote plus volunteer to drive turn-out against the Democrats.

The Austin American-Statesman writing about the Texas Supreme Court’s order, helpfully points out that a string of elections have consequences, provided you use them well:

The Texas Supreme Court on Thursday ordered Dallas County officials to free salon owner Shelley Luther from jail while its nine judges, all Republicans, weigh an appeal challenging her incarceration as improper.

Luther was released from the Dallas County Jail around 1:50 p.m., according to a sheriff’s department spokesman.

The emergency order directed county officials to release Luther on a personal bond, with no money required, “pending final disposition of her case.”

County officials also were ordered to file a response to the challenge by 4 p.m. Monday, the same day Luther’s weeklong sentence for contempt of court would have ended.

Elections, over time, can make a huge difference in the behavior of courts. President Trump remains focused on the importance of appointing judges at every level and doing so from a list that suggests they will not substitute personal and elite cultural preferences for written law. A string of conservative Texas Republican governors, with Republican legislatures, has led to the entire bench in the highest court in the state being filled with Republican appointees, and I don’t mean Anthony Kennedy types. Elections have real consequences, highlighted in a time of crisis.

Finally, there is the governor. Governor Abbott has navigated the recent uncertainty and panic about as well as a governor could be expected to do. He tried to give the counties room, since Texas is much bigger than most states, with wildly different realities in different parts of the Lone Star State. When local authorities got really stupid, between the Dallas County judge and the Ector County sheriff‘s A-team big boys, “Our Finest,” with the Army Iraq War surplus armored truck, the governor swiftly slammed the door on such excesses. Elections past and present matter a great deal.

Here, President Trump and Governor Abbott show by doing that elections matter. Do these seem like the kind of leaders you want in a tough spot? “We’re all warriors together.”

From the local executive and judges to the presidency of the United States, all offices matter. People who have long been complacent, accepting of local officials, have had their eyes opened. Those offices and names way down the long ballot are suddenly obviously affecting peoples’ lives. Now, We the People are without excuse this election year and in the off-year elections ahead. Elections have consequences for you and me.

Published in Domestic Policy
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  1. Jon1979 Inactive
    Jon1979
    @Jon1979

    Jenkins has been at odds with his own commissioners’ court, losing a battle last month over reopening craft stores within Dallas County so that people could buy materials to make their own masks, so that could go outside properly attired according to the rules Clay Jenkins wanted to put in (Jenkins is to the left here of commissioner John Wiley Price, which would be the equivalent in New York of Bill de Blasio being to the left of Al Sharpton). Hard to see with Luther how the optics look good for Jenkins in supporting her being jailed after freeing inmates from the Dallas County Jail arrested on other violations (since Texas district court judges are elected, this also might not play out well for Moyé — he would have been better off ordering Luther’s cosmetology license suspended after this Friday, when salons and barber shops can reopen in Texas, for every day she was open in violation of Abbott’s COVID order. There would still be protests, but not the horrible optics this created for him and Jenkins).

    The Ector County kerfuffle was the sheriff’s office deciding to go overboard with their surplus Gulf War equipment, and using Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission Rules to go hard-core on the protestors. They had the guns at an early protest at a gym, which also has been closed under Abbott’s COVID orders, but there’s no state law about guns at fitness centers, while there is the TABC ban on guns at bars, apparently even closed ones. Sheriff Griffs claimed at the news conference after that he only arrested the bar owner because of the on-premises weapons, and his deputies would simply have fined her for reopening early if the guns hadn’t been there. Take that claim for whatever it’s worth.

    • #1
  2. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    Now to deal with the dearth of local politics reporting giving locals the down lo on local office candidates.

    Judges, especially, are very difficult to get good information on.

    One year, I saw a recommendation to interview lawyers on the most iconic cases concerning judges up for election. It’s not a bad place to start.

    • #2
  3. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Jon1979 (View Comment):

    Jenkins has been at odds with his own commissioners’ court, losing a battle last month over reopening craft stores within Dallas County so that people could buy materials to make their own masks, so that could go outside properly attired according to the rules Clay Jenkins wanted to put in (Jenkins is to the left here of commissioner John Wiley Price, which would be the equivalent in New York of Bill de Blasio being to the left of Al Sharpton). Hard to see with Luther how the optics look good for Jenkins in supporting her being jailed after freeing inmates from the Dallas County Jail arrested on other violations (since Texas district court judges are elected, this also might not play out well for Moyé — he would have been better off ordering Luther’s cosmetology license suspended after this Friday, when salons and barber shops can reopen in Texas, for every day she was open in violation of Abbott’s COVID order. There would still be protests, but not the horrible optics this created for him and Jenkins).

    The Ector County kerfuffle was the sheriff’s office deciding to go overboard with their surplus Gulf War equipment, and using Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission Rules to go hard-core on the protestors. They had the guns at an early protest at a gym, which also has been closed under Abbott’s COVID orders, but there’s no state law about guns at fitness centers, while there is the TABC ban on guns at bars, apparently even closed ones. Sheriff Griffs claimed at the news conference after that he only arrested the bar owner because of the on-premises weapons, and his deputies would simply have fined her for reopening early if the guns hadn’t been there. Take that claim for whatever it’s worth.

    Good context.

    • #3
  4. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Stina (View Comment):

    Now to deal with the dearth of local politics reporting giving locals the down lo on local office candidates.

    Judges, especially, are very difficult to get good information on.

    One year, I saw a recommendation to interview lawyers on the most iconic cases concerning judges up for election. It’s not a bad place to start.

    Arizona has a sort of court customer satisfaction rating, this is rolled up in the state’s Judicial Performance Reports, that voters are encouraged to read before voting.

    • #4
  5. Jeff Hawkins Coolidge
    Jeff Hawkins
    @JeffHawkins

    Californians I know move to Texas in droves (I may be joining them), vowing to turn Texas blue, not realizing the whole reason they’re fleeing

    • #5
  6. Weeping Inactive
    Weeping
    @Weeping

    Jeff Hawkins (View Comment):

    Californians I know move to Texas in droves (I may be joining them), vowing to turn Texas blue, not realizing the whole reason they’re fleeing

    • #6
  7. Roderic Reagan
    Roderic
    @rhfabian

    Jeff Hawkins (View Comment):

    Californians I know move to Texas in droves (I may be joining them), vowing to turn Texas blue, not realizing the whole reason they’re fleeing

    According to polls, most Californians moving to Texas are conservative, so hopefully there will be no change in the state’s political makeup.  

    On the other hand, California conservatives who are used to relying on government contracts might be a problem.

    • #7
  8. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Cliff,

    But Orange Man Bad! He won’t tell me all the adult bedtime stories that I like to hear. He will, of course, keep my taxes within reason, protect my civil rights, not propagandize my children in public school, not destroy my place of worship, keep dangerous criminals and terrorists from access to the country, and occasionally mention the virtues of America in a speech.

    Yuke! I must have my adult bedtime stories. Mr. President, please tell me about 1619 again. You know, how racism-sexism-homophobia-transphobia-phobiaphobia are the founding principles of the country. Yeah, I like that story so much because then I really feel good about hating America. I drift off to sleep with visions of transforming America into a paradise, just like Red China.

    If only we could make a vaccine against stupidity.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #8
  9. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Clifford A. Brown: Those offices and names way down the long ballot are suddenly obviously affecting peoples’ lives.

    This is why I tell people I wouldn’t vote for a Democrat for dog catcher.  The last thing I want to do is help a liberal get on the first rung of what could be a ladder to the top . . .

    • #9
  10. MichaelKennedy Inactive
    MichaelKennedy
    @MichaelKennedy

    That salon owner now has a gofundme account over a half million $.

    • #10
  11. MichaelKennedy Inactive
    MichaelKennedy
    @MichaelKennedy

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):

    That salon owner now has a gofundme account over a half million $.

    Ted Cruz had his hair cut by the salon owner yesterday.  The Lt Governor on TV mentioned that the judge who sentenced her to jail for “contempt of court” because she would not apologize, is up for re-election in November.

    • #11
  12. Jon1979 Inactive
    Jon1979
    @Jon1979

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):

    That salon owner now has a gofundme account over a half million $.

    Ted Cruz had his hair cut by the salon owner yesterday. The Lt Governor on TV mentioned that the judge who sentenced her to jail for “contempt of court” because she would not apologize, is up for re-election in November.

    Judicial district courts in high-population counties tend to be far more localized in their coverage area, to where you have the same type of ‘safe districts’ as you do for elected officials in deep Blue or deep Red areas. So in Judge Moye’s case, while there could be a majority of Dallas County residents mad about Luther being jailed, he’s likely safe as long as the voters in the 14th Judicial District aren’t made enough  to throw him out (he was unopposed in the primaries were back in March, but does have an opponent in the Nov. 3 election).

    • #12
  13. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Jon1979 (View Comment):

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):

    That salon owner now has a gofundme account over a half million $.

    Ted Cruz had his hair cut by the salon owner yesterday. The Lt Governor on TV mentioned that the judge who sentenced her to jail for “contempt of court” because she would not apologize, is up for re-election in November.

    Judicial district courts in high-population counties tend to be far more localized in their coverage area, to where you have the same type of ‘safe districts’ as you do for elected officials in deep Blue or deep Red areas. So in Judge Moye’s case, while there could be a majority of Dallas County residents mad about Luther being jailed, he’s likely safe as long as the voters in the 14th Judicial District aren’t made enough to throw him out (he was unopposed in the primaries were back in March, but does have an opponent in the Nov. 3 election).

    An excellent point. Looking at the Republican candidate, she is very serious and not a grifter looking for a political gig. Jessica Voyce Lewis practices bankruptcy law, which is coming around again as a very steady job with the massive shock to our economy. She started out representing poor tenants against slum lords. 

    • #13
  14. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Jon1979 (View Comment):
    (he was unopposed in the primaries were back in March, but does have an opponent in the Nov. 3 election)

    Even though I don’t live in Texas, I’m going to vote for his opponent.  Someone send me an absentee ballot . . .

    • #14
  15. MichaelKennedy Inactive
    MichaelKennedy
    @MichaelKennedy

    Travis County and Austin are still locked down as the rest of the state reopens.  Those voters will get what they voted for good and hard.

    • #15
  16. Weeping Inactive
    Weeping
    @Weeping

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):

    Travis County and Austin are still locked down as the rest of the state reopens. Those voters will get what they voted for good and hard.

    How are they still locked down? Governor Abbott’s orders were supposed to supercede any local orders to the contrary.

    • #16
  17. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):

    Travis County and Austin are still locked down as the rest of the state reopens. Those voters will get what they voted for good and hard.

    I didn’t get into details, but a friend here (west of Fort Worth) told me this morning that his son, who normally lives in Austin, came up here to live with his parents in late March because the son literally could not reliably find groceries in Austin. 

    • #17
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