Constitutional Challenges in Texas
Image credit: Texas State Capitol Building by Tony H. Lim, Used with permission
In 2011 the Texas legislature passed House Bill No. 2425. It required that a court serve notice of a constitutional question on the attorney general and suspend final judgment holding a statue unconstitutional for 45 days after the date the notice was served. Subsequently, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in Ex Parte John Christopher LO (424 S.W.3d 10 (2013)) ruled that this statute violated Article 2 of the Texas Constitution because it allowed the legislative and executive branches of government to interfere with the judicial branch’s constitutional powers.
As a means to arrive at the same result, on November 7, 2017 64.8% of Texas voters approved Proposition 4 which added Article 5, Section 32 to the constitution of Texas. This amendment authorized the Texas State Legislature to require courts to inform the state attorney general of a legal challenge to the constitutionality of a state statute. Furthermore a waiting period of not more than 45 days after the attorney general is notified must elapse before the judge can rule a state law unconstitutional. Time will tell if the Texas judiciary will challenge this perceived encroachment to its constitutional judicial powers.