The Golden Hammer Staff Reports
Austin and Conroe, March 30 – Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller’s lawsuit against Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and the Texas Senate for excluding citizens from the Senate Gallery, unless they have a purple wristband showing they tested negatively for the China Virus, stands in marked contrast to the willingness of Texas Governor Greg Abbott and many local officials, such as liberal County Judges Lina Hidalgo of Harris County and Mark Keough of Montgomery County, who have trampled on the Constitution in their mandates resulting from their panicked fear.
On Tuesday, March 23, 2021, Miller, a strong conservative who is a statewide elected official and former conservative Republican State Representative from Stephenville, filed suit, along with Houston physician Steve Hotze, against Patrick and the Texas Senate for violating Texas Constitution article III, Section 16 (“The session of each House shall be open, except when the Senate is in executive session”), article I, Section 8 (“Every person shall be at liberty to speak, write or publish his opinions on any subject, being responsible for the abuse of that privilege; and no law shall ever be passed curtailing the liberty of speech or of the press”, article I, Section 27 (“The citizen shall have the right, in a peaceable manner, to assemble together for their common good; and apply to those invested with the powers of government for redress of grievances or other purposes, by petition, address or remonstrance”).
In the lawsuit, Miller and Hotze seek injunctive relief to force Patrick, the Senate, and the Senate’s Sergeant-at-Arms to end their violations of the Texas Constitution and for a declaration that Senate Resolution 1, which instituted the purple wristband procedure for the 87th Legislative Session is illegal and void.
Miller noted in the lawsuit that he cannot represent the Texas Department of Agriculture, over which he presides, in the Texas Senate, unless he submits to Patrick’s and the Senate’s purple wristband procedure.
On April 23, 2020, the Supreme Court of Texas declared, “The Constitution is not suspended when the government declares a state of disaster.” On May 5, 2020, in. concurring opinion, Justice Jimmy Blacklock wrote, “All government power in this country, no matter how well-intentioned derives only from the state and federal constitutions…” He continued that during a pandemic “the judiciary, the other branches of government, and our fellow citizens must insist that every action our governments take complies with the Constitution, especially now. If we tolerate unconstitutional government orders during an emergency, whether out of expediency or fear, we abandon the Constitution at the moment we need it most.”
Miller’s marked contrast with Abbott, Hidalgo, Keough
Texas Governor Greg Abbott, unfortunately, issued government edict after government edict, suspending constitutional rights such as attending church, freedom to assemble politically and for their common good in places of work, all under the guise of his fear of the China Virus. On March 24, 2020, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo was one of the first local officials to claim the executive power to enact byzantine mandates which shut down worship, economic activity, and free assembly in Harris County for almost a year.
After weeks of promising his constituents that Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough would never order a lockdown in response to the China Virus panic, because, Keough acknowledged, a lockdown order would be a violation of the state and federal Constitutions, Keough panicked on March 27 in response to a data-less public health report and issued a lockdown order, an order requiring Houses of Worship to close, and a completely-illegal curfew.
Keough’s actions directly torched the Montgomery County economy, resulted in more suicides than deaths from COVID-19, led to a spike in domestic violence, destroyed many local businesses which have never reopened, and directly led to a twenty-five percent (25%) unemployment rate. One constituent wrote to Keough on March 27 that he acted as a “coward.” Unfortunately, Keough was in a position at that moment to harm tens of thousands of people, if not many others.
Keough’s illegal mandates included criminal penalties for violations, although Montgomery County Sheriff Rand Henderson, Precinct 2 Constable Gene DeForest, and District Attorney Brett Ligon recognized that those penalties violated the Constitution, because they didn’t emanate from any law which the Texas Legislature passed.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks the law
On October 30, 2020, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a Motion for Emergency Temporary Restraining Order in the case against Cameron County Judge Richard Samaniego and declared, “County judges and mayors do not have independent authority to issue emergency orders carrying the force and effect of law, as this is not one of the powers granted to such local officials under section 418.108.” Keough claimed to issue his illegal mandates in March under Section 418.108 of the Texas Government Code just as Samaniego did in October.
Keough had no authority whatsoever, even in the most imaginative fit of fictitious law, to issue a curfew. Keough made clear, however, that he issued the curfew order, because he was upset that someone had broken into his storage unit and “I think it was someone from Harris County.”
After Keough observed the death, economic destruction, and downright misery he had caused, five weeks later he ended his mandate and tried to claim that he was leading the charge against mandated lockdown and business closure orders. Keough apparently counted on the sheer stupidity of his constituents to get behind his “leadership” on those matters.