July 24, 2015

#IronyAlert: Tricky Ricky Perry benefits from the First Amendment

Texas' Third Court of Appeals has said that one of the two criminal charges facing former Gov. Rick Perry over his threats to veto funding for the Public Integrity Unit out of Travis County unless Travis DA Rosemary Lehmberg resigned is unconstitutional.

The court ruled that Texas' coercion of a public servant statute is an unconstitutional limit on a public official's free speech, and therefore that count is dropped.

The state district court that originally heard Team Perry's appeal of the charges had said the statute was constitutional. Special prosecutor Michael McCrum has not yet indicated if he will appeal. And, given that a constitutional issue is involved, if both parties are ready to appeal all the way out, this could eventually land in federal court.

I'm unsure on this ... per this NPR story, Perry at least pushed the edge, but, courts likely do see free-speech concerns, and, on the political side, separation-of-powers issues.

If this holds up, that leaves Perry facing just one misdemeanor, and it's hard to see how McCrum is going to make that stick, because that's largely dependent on the line of reasoning that led to the felony, which was originally two charges.

Friend Perry has more thoughts on the political background and ramifications.

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