This article originally appeared on Common Dreams.
In Texas liberty trumps democracy. The Texas Supreme Court itself says so. In a recent decision, three of the five Justice majority bluntly declared. “(O)ur federal and state charters are not, contrary to popular belief, about ‘democracy’.” They are about “liberty’s primacy.”
The Justices concluded the Texas Constitution gives primacy to liberty because of the sequence of wording “That the great, general and essential principles of liberty and free government may be recognized and established,” is how the Constitution begins. The word “liberty” comes first.
Relying on the sequence of words to establish primacy could have gotten the Justices into trouble when it comes to the federal Constitution, a situation they adroitly finessed by quoting only part of the Preamble. “The federal Constitution, in the first sentence of the Preamble, declares its mission to ‘secure the Blessings of Liberty,”” opined the Justices. But before securing liberty the Preamble lists several other objectives that would have primacy: “establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, (and) promote the general Welfare.”
Texas politicians love to sprinkle their orations with words like liberty and freedom but even they must concede that all societies establish formal and informal rules governing individual behavior and virtually all interfere to some degree with someone’s freedom of action. … Read the rest