Friday night there was some major breaking news: Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) was slapped with a lawsuit for supposedly “abusing his power” when he unilaterally stripped funding to the Travis County Public Integrity Unit, an ethics office that investigates government employees for criminal wrongdoing.
The long and short of it is that Perry wanted to strong-arm liberal District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg into resigning after her infamous and deeply embarrassing DUI arrest hit the papers. “Perry made it clear in public statements and through emissaries that he didn’t believe the state should fund an office headed by someone who had lost the public’s trust,” The Dallas Morning News reported.
The special prosecutor in this case, however, believes he has more than enough evidence to make both charges stick.
Either way, Republicans in the state, and Perry’s backers, have stuck by him, arguing that his decision to veto the legislation, however one wants to interpret what he did, was legal. And Alan Dershowitz, of all people, a liberal scholar at Harvard Law School, wholeheartedly agrees (via Newsweek):
The charges are politically motivated and an example of a "dangerous" trend of courts being used to affect the ballot box and politics, he told Newsmax on Saturday.
"Everybody, liberal or conservative, should stand against this indictment," Dershowitz said. "If you don't like how Rick Perry uses his office, don't vote for him."
"This is another example of the criminalization of party differences," said Dershowitz, a prominent scholar on United States constitutional law and criminal law who writes the "Legally Speaking" column for Newsmax. "This idea of an indictment is an extremely dangerous trend in America, whether directed at [former House Majority Leader] Tom DeLay or [former President] Bill Clinton."
Further, Dershowitz said, such indictments are something that's done in totalitarian countries and should not be done in the United States.
In such countries, "if you don't like them, you indict," Dershowitz said. "In America, you vote against them...this should be up to the voters. There is no room in America for abuse of office charges, and this has to stop once and for all. This is a serious problem."
And indicting a politician, rather than fighting back through a ballot box, "is so un-American."
Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), nobody's idea of a liberal politician, wants everyone to know about the left-leaning observers who have rushed to his defense after he was indicted last Friday.
On "Fox News Sunday," Perry was asked whether he takes the indictment against him seriously. Perry insisted he did but quickly pointed to the arguments made by former Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod and Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz as a good reason for why the public should dismiss the allegations.
"I certainly take everything I do seriously — the rule of law in particular, I take seriously. Let me just share with you: David Axelrod said this was a very 'sketchy' indictment. Professor Dershowitz who is not exactly my cheerleader, said that it was outrageous," Perry said, according to video posted by Mediaite. "So I think across the board you're seeing people weigh in and reflecting that this is way outside of the norm."
Perry, meanwhile, staunchly defended the veto himself in a press conference last weekend:
“This indictment amounts to nothing more than abuse of power.” he said. "And I cannot and will not allow that to happen. I intend to fight against those who would erode our state’s constitution and laws purely for political purposes."
"And I intend to win," he added.
Editor's note: This post has been updated.
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