Thursday, February 7, 2019

#TXLEGE: Watson hijacks Sec'y of State confirmation hearing (to lay foundation for future litigation)

"Do not remove the ancient landmark,
Nor enter the fields of the fatherless;"
Proverbs 23:10

[Note: You can view the committee hearing here; this author's testimony is at the 3:55:30 mark.]

We attended this morning's confirmation hearing for the Secretary of State.  One conclusion is obvious: The Democrats are dead set against this nomination.  And there's litigation coming.

Kirk Watson lead the attack.

Watson subjected Secretary of State Whitley to a barrage of hair-splittingly petty questions about his office's recent efforts to ensure the integrity of Texas' voter rolls.  Whether it was data point "x," data point "y," or data point "z," Watson was on a mission to extract a 'confession' he could exploit for political purposes.  While Watson's strategy is politically obnoxious, it might be very effective legally (especially with a friendly judge).

Every question Watson asked created a new legal "i" to be dotted, or a legal "t" to be crossed.

As for our personal testimony: We discussed how, even if one were to interpret the Secretary of State's numbers in the most unfriendly way possible, there are still enough questionable registrations to matter.  Elections in Travis County are routinely decided by fewer than 5000 votes.  We also noted, tongue somewhat in cheek, that we agreed with Senator Watson's assessment that Texas had serious issues with minority voting rights during the century of Democrat control.

That being said, this nomination's in trouble.  The Texas constitution requires a two thirds vote to confirm gubernatorial appointees.  That means 21 votes.  There are only 19 Republicans.  That means, even if you hold Seliger, you still need two Democrats.  Unfortunately, we think its a lot easier to find 12 votes "against" than it is to find 21 votes "for."  We hope there's a backup plan.

Bottom Line: There's a lot more to come on this issue, but the opening fireworks were nevertheless revealing.... 

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