Opinion: Reject Judicial Activism, Vote Schenck, Parker, & Finley

judicial activism
Supreme Court building | Image by Johnny Silvercloud/Shutterstock

Activist judges have hijacked the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, Texas voters have an opportunity this March to take it back. That’s the short summary of what’s at stake in this election and why conservative organizations, lawmakers, and even Donald Trump Jr. have made a down ballot race one of the most contentious ones this campaign season.

So how did we get here? Why are conservatives in favor of throwing out the incumbents on the court and replacing them with David Schenck, Gina Parker, and Lee Finley?

It goes back to a horrendous decision by judicial activists on state’s highest criminal court to eviscerate the power of the Texas Attorney General and overturn a law passed by the Texas Legislature.

In December 2021, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals issued a ruling that a 71-year-old state law granting the Attorney General the ability to prosecute voter fraud was unconstitutional and remanded the sole power to try such cases to local district attorneys.

Outside of the clear legal problems with the ruling, its practical effect is much more pronounced given the political geography of the state. The places voter fraud is more likely to occur (Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, and the Rio Grande Valley) are all under Democrat control with Democrat district attorneys—many of whom were elected through the help of massive campaign contributions from liberal activist George Soros.

Since 2017 alone George Soros has spent over $6 million through his Texas PAC to elect Democrats at the local level and won major victories in the state’s Democrat strongholds. If the Court of Criminal Appeals stands, Republican voters across the state would have no recourse to stop voter fraud if the Democrat district attorneys refused to prosecute.

Leading Republicans were quick to condemn the court’s decision.

“Soros-funded district attorneys will have sole power to decide whether election fraud has occurred in Texas,” said Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

“Texas’ highest law enforcement officer has constitutional authority to enforce that election-integrity law,” said Gov. Greg Abbott through a spokesman. “The Court of Criminal Appeals needs to uphold Texas law and the Attorney General’s responsibility to defend it.”

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick not only agreed but joined 14 state senators in filing an amicus brief asking the court to reconsider its ruling.

“If the court’s decision stands, certain rogue county and district attorneys will be allowed to turn a blind eye to election fraud, and they will have the final say on whether election fraud is prosecuted at all,” said Patrick. “To me, this is completely unacceptable.”

Republican Party of Texas Chairman Matt Rinaldi also condemned the opinion and filed his own amicus brief as well.

“This Court has violated basic separation of powers principles by legislating from the bench,” said Rinaldi. “The Court’s decision to eliminate the authority of the Attorney General to prosecute election law violations implicates the interests of RPT, Republican voters, and candidates because it affects the security, fairness, and integrity of elections in the State of Texas.”

Unfortunately, the activist judges on the court declined to revisit its ruling. However, the Texas Constitution doesn’t give them the final say. As our founding fathers intended, the ultimate authority is the citizenry.

The judges who issued this ruling are still on the bench, but three of them (Sharon Keller, Barbara Parker Hervey, and Michelle Slaughter) are also on every Republican voter’s primary election ballot. That’s why conservative activists are supporting their opponents: David Schenck, Gina Parker, and Lee Finley.

A vote for David Schenck, Gina Parker, and Lee Finley is a vote to reject judicial activism, restore responsibility to the Court of Criminal Appeals, and send a message to every elected judge in Texas that the people of Texas expect them to respect the Constitution and the rule of law.

Cary Cheshire is a conservative activist and commentator. He resides in Fort Worth where he serves as the president and treasurer of Tarrant County Patriots PAC.

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