As the so-called corona pandemic hopefully declines and as we come to the understanding that government can not cure all ails, the media knows no more than the common citizen and the medical profession seems to know little or less than the media.
Early estimates suggested more than several million Americans would die from the virus yet revised estimates are suggesting possibly less than 50,000. Current estimates now project .001% of America might die from the virus or related virus issues.
Before I go too far, I would like to say the Guadalupe County Commissioners Court along with the mayors and councils of the Guadalupe County cities have been clear thinking and steady in using common sense and not going into panic. As our county nears 200,000 inhabitants, last reporting shows 63 confirmed cases, 23 active, 40 recoveries and no fatalities along with a near empty parking lot at GRMC, which brings me to the rest of the story.
Texas Constitution Article 1, Sec. 28, “no power of suspending laws in this state (Texas) shall be exercised except by the legislature.” The Texas Constitution also says that a “disease threat” is reason to call a special session of the legislature.
Article 4, Sec. 8a, “the governor may, on the extraordinary occasions, convene the legislature at the seat of government, or at a different place, in case that should be in possession of the public enemy or in case of prevalence of disease threat. His proclamation therefore shall state specifically the purpose for which the legislature is convened.”
But then we find a state law, Sec. 418.016 “the governor may suspend the provisions of any regulatory statute prescribing the procedures for conduct of state business or the order of rules of a state agency if strict compliance with the provisions, orders, or rules would in any way prevent, hinder, or delay necessary action in coping with disaster.”
My first question, doesn’t the constitution stand higher than law? If a law violates the constitution is it not immediately invalid?
The last sentence of Article 3 Sec. 62 in the state constitution says, “Article 1 of the Constitution of Texas, known as the ‘Bill of Rights’ shall not be in any manner affected, amended, impaired, repealed or suspended.”
I want to make it clear, I’m not an attorney, nor am I any more than a constitutional novice; however, no matter how I read Sec. 1 of the Texas Constitution, the governor must convene the legislature to declare a state of emergency. Even the governor and the legislature can not amend the constitution even in a declared state of emergency.
When government at any level violates constitutional rights, and there is a long list both state and federal, then citizens should be speaking out and standing up. When government suspends or restricts travel, picks essential and non-essential business, prohibits the practice and expression of faith, then our rights have been violated.
Good government should offer practical solutions and provide the means for those good solutions. They should offer up suggestions of remedy and relief.
Hopefully, we will learn from this lesson. Some of the lessons I hope we learn are: China is not our friend, governmental regulations should never force businesses like pharmaceutical and medical manufacturing to leave our shores, and American lifestyles should never be altered on uneducated guesses by bureaucrats.
As with many things during this event, we must ensure that the cure is not worse than the disease. Liberty-minded Americans should be on edge as our rights are being suspended. Patrick Henry, patriot and statesman once said “Give me Liberty or give me Death”. I don’t believe a .003% chance of death warrants suspending civil liberties.