We’ve taken Abbott to task for some of his missteps, but this time, he’s taking a stand against the urges of elected officials to assume authoritarian ‘rule-by-fiat’ powers they were never granted.
Simply put, a Mayor is not a King, and Gov. Abbott needed to remind someone of that clear distinction. It’s a lesson that should be shared around the country.
It’s a lesson that a few Governors, elected members of Congress, and civil servants around the country really should wrap their heads around, too. Because for all the bleating about ‘defending democracy,’ these are the infringements on a citizens’ rights that led to a fight for independence in the first place.
Checks and balances were instituted precisely for the reason that no one person had such perfect and impartial judgment that he should be trusted with unchecked sweeping powers of lawmaking.
The wisdom of those checks and balances is easily shown by looking at the rank hypocrisy of so many lawmakers being caught defying their own restrictions when it suited them.
It’s the old question of whether we live under a system of lex rex (the law is king) or a system of rex lex the king is law.
Gov. Greg Abbott says Austin and Travis County’s new order – that bans dine-in restaurants and bars from allowing guests into their businesses between 10:30 p.m. to 6 a.m. from Thursday through Sunday – isn’t allowed.
During those hours, the new order, announced by Austin Mayor Steve Adler Tuesday, allows businesses to continue to offer drive-thru and curbside services. Those who break the curfew could receive a fine up to $1,000, according to the order.
Abbott tweeted shortly after the order was released, writing that “this shutdown order by Austin isn’t allowed. Period.”
“My executive order stops cities like Austin from arbitrarily shutting down businesses,” he wrote. “The city has a responsibility to enforce existing orders, not make new ones.” —HoustonChronicle