Oh, Texas–You Are So Predictable…

The Texas Attorney General is supporting a school district that expelled a student for failing to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.

Where do I start?

Let’s begin with one of my all-time favorite Supreme Court opinions, written by Justice Jackson in the case of West Virginia Board of Education v. Barnett. It is a famous case, in which Jackson wrote that compelling a gesture of respect for the flag pledge violates the fundamental values of the First Amendment, which protects freedom of expression and thought from government intrusion.

The case is made difficult not because the principles of its decision are obscure, but because the flag involved is our own. Nevertheless, we apply the limitations of the Constitution with no fear that freedom to be intellectually and spiritually diverse or even contrary will disintegrate the social organization. … [F]reedom to differ is not limited to things that do not matter much. That would be a mere shadow of freedom. The test of its substance is the right to differ as to things that touch the heart of the existing order.

If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion, or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein. If there are any circumstances which permit an exception, they do not now occur to us.

Despite being a lawyer–or so I assume–the Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton, has consistently demonstrated ignorance of the constitution. He did so once again in this case, issuing a statement saying “School children cannot unilaterally refuse to participate in the Pledge.”

Um…yes, they can.

India Landry, who is 17, was expelled from her school for refusing to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. That refusal was prompted by her considered belief that the government is not honoring the principles that flag is supposed to represent.

“I felt the flag doesn’t represent what it stands for, liberty & justice for all & I don’t feel what is going on in the country, so it was my choice to remain seated, silently.”

Forgive me if I view Paxton’s stirring–if embarrassingly uninformed–defense of the flag and the pledge as an effort to distract voters from his upcoming trial for fraud. According to the Dallas News, 

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was indicted for fraud nearly three years ago but is unlikely to go on trial before Election Day.

Paxton’s trials are on hold while the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals decides whether the prosecutors on the case are being overpaid. The court went on summer recess Wednesday, and won’t hear any cases or issue any major opinions before the fall.

This means they won’t announce a decision in the pay case until September, at the earliest, which experts said will delay Paxton’s trial dates until after the Nov. 6 election — and probably into next year.

You might think that pending fraud charges would be politically damaging, but hey! This is Texas. Republicans in Texas are apparently even less concerned with moral lapses and ignorance of job requirements than  Republicans elsewhere who still support Trump.

Paxton, a Republican, is running for a second term as the state’s top lawyer. Despite the indictments that have hung over him since months after his election in 2014, he has remained popular with conservative Republicans, raking in half a million dollars for his legal defense and boasting record fundraising numbers.

I guess he’s been too busy raising money and defending against fraud charges to research applicable legal precedents…

14 thoughts on “Oh, Texas–You Are So Predictable…

  1. From an Irish-American: “You don’t get stumbling, puking drunk from drinking “ONE BEER”.
    Wanna get stumbling puking drunk? Try scotch, bourbon, rye, rotgut or moonshine whiskey and “chase” it with beer. Chug-a-lug it at a college “stag or smoker” until you’re “three sheets to the wind”, soaked in vomitus, stumbling, and far out of control. Aggressive behavior is likely, the intellect is anaesthetized, judgment is absent.
    Little wonder the prissy judge repeated and repeated “ONE BEER”.
    Why wasn’t whiskey mentioned in committee?

  2. I was hoping to get a look at who’s donating monies to this owned entity, but it’s not public yet.

    However, this statement in the newspaper says it all, “The attorney general has increased his attacks against the federal government and his involvement in prominent conservative issues such as opposing transgender rights and fighting environmental regulations.”

    Now, why would a state owned by Big Oil want their top lawyer to “fight environmental regulations?”

    He also dislikes transgenders which is nothing more than blood-soaked bait for the ignorant/rabid closed-minded bigots.

    By the way, have you noticed whenever Trump needs an EGO boost, he heads down to Mississippi for a rally? This weeks target was mocking a sexual assault victim which was caused the crowd to cheer.

    It is fun to read about the progressive running against Ted Cruz for a Senate seat. Could Texas reverse years of sending bigoted assholes to Washington?

    I think Fox News even protects them by not interviewing these dumb bigots because the video clips make the rounds on everyone’s FB and Twitter feeds. 😉

    It was only 40 years ago when Richard Nixon ushered in the EPA while this generation of greedy profiteers wants to kill off Americans to sustain their stock price and their hired politicians are rewarded by votes because those voting don’t have the mental capacity to realize they are voting for the death of their grandchildren.

  3. texas,BBQ,open hunting on minorities,and the most uneducated ,at least as far as common sense. my long time hauling there,and meeting a variety of people,of all faiths. try walking into a bar as a white man,with a black lady as you friend,priceless.(yes me) though many places in tx are civil,those are rare. mainly, as i see it, as my view,ignorance abounds.making small talk while loading my truck, always will get someone close to me to cut looose with a frame in bigotry of the person loading us,without asking… you cant walk without someone judging you no matter what color skin you have.and if you dont twang when spittin,your not a texan. now you may laugh,and seen diffrent,and maybe that tourist spot doesnt, but as in the true working life,its policy. i once stopped at a benifit for a town hit by a tornado,it was on u,s,hwy 287 midway between decatur and amarillo, it was 1997/98 i was pulling a oversize load,and had few options to park. but since it was a texas steak for a donation,who could resist, after placing a c note in the donation,and a very greatful woman,who said a big texas thanks,and a big your welcome from me, i stepped up to the table,only to have joe redneck question my being there,,,,the gracious woman man handled him quiet well on his disregard,and out loud she said he sould be donating as much,, me long hair,beard,biker like,tats etc, but ya know, i expected it..
    thanks Willie,its about time someone in the recording industry booted high dollar people and did as they are born to do, help,out,and if you know anything about willie,this man has,over his lifetime,given to many,who,like ourselves,had a bad fall.,when others just look and judge,vote like willie, would…..

  4. “School children cannot unilaterally refuse to participate in the Pledge.”

    Does that statement not also rule against some religious denominations – Christian denominations? I am going to borrow a word in a Facebook post this morning; the current administration is in a “fucktangle” and nowhere is this more evident than in the state of Texas. Not only are student’s minds and actions “unilaterally” ruled by their education system but their history books are reported being rewritten to educate students to the benefits of slavery. “Unilaterally” ordering the students to honor the emblem of what this country no longer stands for is a form of slavery and brainwashing. We are watching this same situation on the national level with the NFL players “taking a knee” during the playing of the national anthem.

    The judicial system in this country needs to be carefully investigated at all levels – PLEASE – NOT by the current FBI – as too many judges are using their personal beliefs, bypassing Rule of Law and the Constitution, to reach their decisions and refusing to assign responsibility where it belongs. I was appalled this morning to read in the Indianapolis Star, “Judge rules against Mom ‘mauled’ by IMPD dog”. “The attack happened on July 16, 2015, when Scooter and his IMPD handler were in pursuit of a suspect who had begun hopping fences in the 300 block of Addison Street.” The 7 months pregnant young woman stepped out her front door onto her front porch to see what the commotion in her neighborhood was about and was instantly attacked by the dog. Her injuries caused several surgeries, permanent damage, the need for pain killers addicted her unborn baby and she still suffers the effects of some level of disability. Her baby spend weeks in the hospital to be detoxified from the necessary pain killers. “U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Walton Pratt wrote in a Sept. 28 judgement that the department did not violate Mancini’s constitutional rights because the dog’s release and subsequent attack were intended for the suspect, not Mancini.” Indiana has often been compared to Texas; nowhere is a legal “fucktangle” more in evidence than in this local case. Judge Walton Pratt has been known for her tough but fair decisions in past public cases; she misses fairness all the way around with this decision.

    VOTE BLUE!

  5. Jo Ann’s comment is apt. What if that girl in Texas had said her religion prevents her from “worshipping” a graven image?

  6. Justice Jackson had a unique perspective on individual rights, as he acted as Chief Counsel for the U.S. in the Nuremberg trials. He saw the evidence of what happens when rights are diminished by authoritarian rule.

    I’m sure many of those lily white Texas voters agree wholeheartedly with their AG. Here’s an interesting contradiction in their beliefs. They don’t believe school children have rights, but they apparently believe fetuses have rights. What would they do if they were informed that fetuses don’t stand for either the Pledge of Allegiance or the National Anthem?

    VOTE BLUE!

  7. The problem is when folks confuse freedom with power. Impossible you say? I would say that it’s how authoritarianism is sold over entertainment media every day. Authoritarian freedom is power over others. Make “them” stand, make “them” not kneel, make “them” look like yourself, make “them” all white, Christian, heterosexual, Republican, males so you can be free of diversity.

    The shallow thinkers among us love that stuff because it smacks of the past when the white, Christian, heterosexual, Republican, males were entitled to first place at the table as the white, Christian, heterosexual, Republican, male God intended.

  8. If this is not a distraction then we are saying that what we thought was “settled law” may not be so settled… I would not be shocked if this becomes law of the land. Would any of you?

  9. Indiana once had Senator Lugar. Texas once had Barbara Jordan, and I don’t give up hope that the changing demographics in Texas will let Beto O’Rourke replace Ted Cruz.

  10. Jun 22, 2018:
    Judge Won’t Give Texas Woman Sentenced To 5 Years For Illegal Voting A New Trial
    She was sentenced to half a decade in prison even though she said she was unaware she couldn’t vote. A Texas woman who was sentenced to five years in prison for voting in the 2016 election while she was on supervised release won’t get a new trial, a judge ruled Monday.

    State District Judge Ruben Gonzalez sentenced Mason to five years in prison in March, even though Mason insisted she didn’t knowingly vote illegally and asked prosecutors why she would want to jeopardize her freedom. Gonzalez noted during Mason’s trial that she had signed an affidavit at the top of her provisional ballot affirming that she eligible to vote.

    Mason, who is black, has a case that stands in stark contrast to a white justice of the peace in the same county. He pleaded guilty to turning in forged signatures to get on the ballot but was sentenced to five years of probation. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/crystal-mason-tarrant-county_us_5b213ddde4b0adfb827049c3
    =====================================
    September 26 >> “Requiring the pledge to be recited at the start of every school day has the laudable result of fostering respect for our flag and a patriotic love of our country,” Attorney General Ken Paxton said Tuesday. Twenty-six other states have similar statutes, Paxton said.

    Paxton comment is so bogus. This whole idea of reciting the pledge of allegiance has nothing to do with patriotism, it is all about blind nationalistic obedience to the State. One thing we have here in the USA is blind nationalistic obedience to the State.

    As Union General Carl Schurz is famous for saying: “My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.”

    India Landry was in her own way carrying out Schurz’s words ” and if wrong to be set right”.

  11. Monotonous; don’t you find it strange that Texas, one of the states doing all within its power – or when it has no power – the voter registration had listed her as a qualified voter. Never mind; don’t answer that, she is Black which is the answer to my question. Texas laws, as in too many other states, come in various hues.

    VOTE BLUE!

  12. JoAnn, what I find disturbing is our “Justice System” as whole. CEO’s and others in the Corporate High Command can have the corporation pay a fine and the persons involved in the crime skate away.

    From the book 1984 by Orwell – ‘If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever.’

    These quotes, also from the book 1984 seems to encapsulate the followers of President Agent Orange:
    “He was a fattish but active man of paralyzing stupidity, a mass of imbecile enthusiasm—one of those completely unquestioning, devoted drudges on whom, more even than on the Thought Police, the stability of the Party depended.”

    ‘Orthodoxy means not thinking—not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.’

  13. I lived in Texas for the last 15 years and taught high school science for 5 of them before thankfully retiring in 2007. The entire Texas political system is as crooked as a dog’s hind leg, as Texas aphorisms say. Paxton is merely the latest in a long string of corrupt ideologues beholden to big oil, big real estate and big insurance. They are the paymasters.

    The jingoism is also phony. They use it to bludgeon those with any sort of independent thought. Paxton and Abbott before him kept trying to sue the Federal government for a variety of things. There is a radical movement to secede Texas from the union. Abbott has sponsored a Constitutional convention movement to write that ability into our governing document. It’s all bullshit and all show, of course, but this peculiar place has a giant inferiority complex and acts out in bizarre ways to hide it. The Lt. Governor, Dan Patrick, is an ex-talk radio host who acted as Ted Cruz’s state campaign manager in the 2014 election. He is a certified idiot and sponsors all this nincompoopery about the pledge and everything else meant to weaken public institutions including education.

    Rick Perry, then Texas’ governor once refused to accept over $700 million in free education money because he said the the Feds wanted to impose certain English language requirements. “We can’t have no gummint tellin’ us what we can and can’t teach.” I’m not making this up.

    Oh, and the entire state government is made up of Republicans and Republican appointees. Democrats have NO say in ANY department of the state government. Their minority status in the legislature is among the worst in the country. That should tell you all you need to know about how Texas politics works. Paxton will never go to trial as long as the judges keep being “groomed” by the donors.

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