The Texas House speaker is supposed to represent all Texans

Under the Texas Constitution and House rules, the election of the Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives is done by a vote of the entire House of Representatives.  

Article 3, Section 9 (b) of the Texas Constitution states, "The House of Representatives shall, when it first assembles, organize temporarily, and thereupon proceed to the election of a Speaker from its own members." (emphasis added.)

The current attempt by extreme right wing members of the Texas House to have only the Republican Caucus select the next speaker of the Texas House is a violation of the Texas Constitution, House rules and possibly the Voting Rights Act and federal Constitution.

Conservative Republican House members’ efforts to exclude House Democrats from having a meaningful vote in the process could be viewed as essentially an on-going civil and possibly criminal conspiracy to negate or dilute the votes of voters in districts represented by Democrats, especially minority voters, who overwhelmingly vote to elect Democratic members of the Texas House to represent and protect their rights and interests.

That means the value of votes cast to elect Democratic members is not equal to the value of the votes cast to elect Republican members. This vote dilution violates the federal Constitutional requirement of "one person, one vote" and the Voting Rights Act protection against minority voter dilution.

It is a bold, open-faced attempt to steal an election by violating the voting rights of some Texans. No ruling from a parliamentarian of the Texas House, or vote of the House Republican Caucus can make this voting rights violation legal.

The Texas Democratic Party and civil rights organizations should sue Texas House Republicans, in federal court, to protect the voting rights of minority Texans. The House Speaker represents all Texas House members as well as all the people of Texas: Black, Hispanic, Asian, white, LGBTQ, conservative, liberal, moderate, Green Party and Libertarian.

Disclosure: The State Bar of Texas has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors is available here.

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