Texas Supreme Court Upholds Governor's Veto on Funding Legislature Over Voting Rights Bill

The Texas Supreme Court ruled on Monday in favor of Governor Greg Abbott's veto on funding the Legislature.

Governor Abbott vetoed the funding for the legislative branch after 50 Texas Democratic lawmakers walked out of session to stop a Republican bill they believed would restrict voting rights.

"Relators argue that the Governor is unconstitutionally coercing them to vote for legislation that he favors," the court opinion stated, "But the Governor has not forced the Legislature to enact his priorities before addressing its own funding."

I will veto Article 10 of the budget passed by the legislature.

Article 10 funds the legislative branch.

No pay for those who abandon their responsibilities.

Stay tuned.

— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) May 31, 2021

The Democrats filed a petition shortly after and argued that the governor's actions were unconstitutional, which was denied on Monday. "Concerns over the separation of powers involve not only disagreements between the executive and legislative branches, when they arise, but also the judiciary's intervention," the court opinion said.

It added: "Courts have uniformly recognized that it is not their role to resolve disputes between the other two branches that those branches can resolve for themselves."

Governor Abbott, in his original statement of objections at the start of this veto, said, "Texans don't run from a legislative fight, and they don't walk away from unfinished business. Funding should not be provided for those who quit their job early, leaving their state with unfinished business and exposing taxpayers to higher costs for an additional legislative session."

The Supreme Court ruling comes after the start of the second special session, which began on Saturday, but still did not have sufficient members to achieve a quorum.

Texas State Legislature Continues Work On Bills
The Texas Supreme Court ruled on Monday in favor of Governor Greg Abbott and the veto in pulling the funding from the Legislature. Above, Abbott speaks at the Texas State Capitol on July 10, 2021, in Austin. Tamir Kalifa/Getty Images

The absence of Democrats managed to heighten the tension on the elections bill in question, which Republicans claim will make voting fraud more difficult, according to The Dallas Morning News, but Democrats claim it would suppress the votes of Black and Latino Texans, specifically.

Texas State Representative Donna Howard, a Democrat from Austin, had tweeted in May that vetoing the funding provision "would eliminate the branch of government that represents the people and basically create a monarchy."

The veto would also affect the Democrat's staffers' pay. Donovon Rodriguez, the chief of staff for a Democratic state representative said that this move would hurt more than just the lawmakers.

"There is always somebody who feels left out, who feels betrayed, by the governor when he chooses to veto legislation," Rodriguez told the Associated Press at the end of July. "Unfortunately, it really hits home this time."

"The Texas Supreme Court has again recognized that 'the Governor has power to disapprove any bill' and upheld the governor's veto power granted under the Texas Constitution," Press Secretary Renae Eze told Newsweek. "With the additional month of funding for the Texas Legislature, Texas Democrats have run out of excuses.

"It's time to stop the charades and get back to work doing the job they were elected to do—voting on critical legislation on behalf of their constituents, including funding Article X, potential funding for COVID-19 healthcare response, providing property tax relief, funding our retired teachers, protecting our foster children, and securing the border."