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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Perry’s fate should be decided by elections

    On Aug. 15, Texas Gov. Rick Perry was indicted by a grand jury for alleged abuse of power by threatening to veto funding for state prosecutors who were to investigate government corruption.
    Perry had allegedly promised to veto funding for an anti-corruption campaign that was to be led by a Texas district attorney who was caught drunk driving. Perry was supposedly bullying her into resigning from office.

    And if all of this wasn’t bad enough, the district attorney in question is from none other than Travis County, Texas.

    Travis County, home to the capital of Austin, is an island of liberalism in the ocean of hard-right Texas conservatism. This all seems a little suspicious.

    If convicted, Perry could be sentenced anywhere from five to 99 years in prison.
    Let’s take a step back for a minute.

    This is the same Rick Perry who was a formidable Republican presidential candidate in 2012. While Democrats see him as George W. Bush part deux and take every opportunity to attack him as a goof who couldn’t name the three federal agencies he would eliminate in a 2012 Republican debate, he has led Texas effectively during his time in office. Texas’ economy boasts one of the lowest unemployment rates and highest growth rates in the country. Plus, Texas voters have elected him handily three times.

    While no elected official is above the law, it seems strange that Perry would be indicted at this particular time in his political life. If Perry has committed a serious wrongdoing, why not impeach him, as the Texas constitutional guidelines lay out? Why run to the courts? It seems that this is simply a way for his political opponents to attack him when they know he is likely preparing for a presidential run in 2016.

    Even the distinguished liberal law professor Alan Dershowitz of Harvard Law School thinks the indictment is baloney. During an interview with conservative Newsmax TV, he stated that using the courts to make political changes instead of using votes is a “dangerous trend.”

    “Everybody, liberal or conservative, should stand against this indictment,” Dershowitz said. “If you don’t like how Rick Perry uses his office, don’t vote for him.”

    While the courts have a role to play if an elected official does wrong, this case doesn’t seem like it would fit that criteria. If the people of Texas have a beef with their governor because of his conduct, let them do it through the ballot box and not through the courts. After all, the voters put Perry into office.

    While it is likely that the case is doomed to fail and the governor won’t be indicted, this is part of a larger trend in America where we seek to have the legal system do what we as citizens and voters should do: throw (or not throw) the bums out.

    If Perry’s enemies in Travis County were hoping to damage Perry with this indictment, I don’t think they have succeeded. Voters should see the writing on the wall: This indictment is simply partisan political theater.

    —Casey Hoyack is philosphy, politics, economics, and law senior. Follow him @Hoyack_

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