Governor Abbott vetoed the funding for the legislative branch after 50 Texas Democratic lawmakers walked out of session to stop a Republican bill they believed would restrict voting rights.
“Relators argue that the Governor is unconstitutionally coercing them to vote for legislation that he favors,” the court opinion stated, “But the Governor has not forced the Legislature to enact his priorities before addressing its own funding.”
The Democrats filed a petition shortly after and argued that the governor’s actions were unconstitutional, which was denied on Monday. “Concerns over the separation of powers involve not only disagreements between the executive and legislative branches, when they arise, but also the judiciary’s intervention,” the court opinion said.
It added: “Courts have uniformly recognized that it is not their role to resolve disputes between the other two branches that those branches can resolve for themselves.”
Governor Abbott, in his original statement of objections at the start of this veto, said, “Texans don’t run from a legislative fight, and they don’t walk away from unfinished business. Funding should not be provided for those who quit their job early, leaving their state with unfinished business and exposing taxpayers to higher costs for an additional legislative session.”
The Supreme Court ruling comes after the start of the second special session, which began on Saturday, but still did not have sufficient members to achieve a quorum.
The absence of Democrats managed to heighten the tension on the elections bill in question, which Republicans claim will make voting fraud more difficult, according to The Dallas Morning News, but Democrats claim it would suppress the votes of Black and Latino Texans, specifically.
Texas State Representative Donna Howard, a Democrat from Austin, had tweeted in May that vetoing the funding provision “would eliminate the branch of government that represents the people and basically create a monarchy.”
The veto would also affect the Democrat’s staffers’ pay. Donovon Rodriguez, the chief of staff for a Democratic state representative said that this move would hurt more than just the lawmakers.
“There is always somebody who feels left out, who feels betrayed, by the governor when he chooses to veto legislation,” Rodriguez told the Associated Press at the end of July. “Unfortunately, it really hits home this time.”
Newsweek reached out to Abbott’s press secretary for further comment but did not hear back in time for publication.