Let’s get this straight. Is this the way it goes in the world of a political power broker like Steve Hotze?
Harris County Republican primary endorser in chief Steve Hotze’s brother Bruce loses a case before the Supreme Court of Texas and the sitting Chief Justice of that Court and another justice (Phil Johnson) should lose their jobs because they don’t reflect the Hotze purity test of conservative family values or judicial temperament?
Hotze’s endorsement of former Pasadena muncipal court judge and former Texas House member Robert Talton to become a justice on the Supreme Court of Texas is too bizarre for even the planet Narfon.
Of all the endorsements on Hotze’s slate, this one involving the Supreme Court of Texas should literally be the beginning of the end of his credibility as a power broker in Harris County.
It’s one thing to endorse a political carpetbagger in the community of Katy.
It’s one thing to find some inexplicable reason to look past Glenn Hegar in the race for Texas Comptroller.
It’s a totally different matter to try to elevate a former municipal court judge to a Supreme Court justice because he was a predictable member of the Texas House in what at least has the appearance (Democrats would probably up the rhetoric on that in the fall) of a spiteful purge.
It’s a totally different matter to ask Texas Republicans to oust a sitting Chief Justice by replacing him on the statewide ticket by a person who couldn’t win a countywide race in Harris County. Let’s stress that: Talton could not carry Harris County in a countywide race against a Democrat and this is the guy that Hotze wants to be leading the Republican judicial banner statewide?
Represenatives close to the campaigns of Chief Justice Nathan Hecht and Justice Phil Johnson have confirmed that Hotze brought up the matter of the case to be described later when they were interviewed by Hotze for endorsement consideration.
Before we describe the case, let’s keep these things in mind:
- There is probably no more conservative Supreme Court in the United States than the one in Texas.
- Even conservative Republican judges are not obligated to rule in favor of the brother of a Republican power broker who can make life miserable for them in the largest county in Texas.
- In fact, when the brother of a political power broker organizes a genuinely incompetent campaign that his side should have won decisively, neither the brother or the power broker have any right to expect Republican Supreme Court judges to make their problem ‘go away.’
This column is not about the case that Steve’s brother Bruce lost before the Supreme Court. This column is about Steve Hotze’s apparent bizarre response to brother Bruce’s loss before the Supreme Court. So here’s a quick review in bullet point form.
- Bruce Hotze organized a referendum effort in the City of Houston that would have capped spending. (Details don’t matter for this column.)
- Fearful that Hotze’s referendum would pass, the Houston mayor got the City of Houston to put an alternative ‘cap referendum’ on the same ballot.
- Both referendums passed BUT the mayor’s watered-down, weak cap passed with MORE voters than the Hotze-led referendum.
- Guess what happened? The City of Houston took the position that its alternative referendum got more votes thus it was the voter-approved referendum. (Details condensed.)
- Hotze and his team went to court and won at the lower level on its path to the Supreme Court of Texas.
- The Supreme Court of Texas overturned lower verdicts. Hotze lost because of a ruling on law that apparently did not address the merits of the issues that Hotze’s team wanted addressed.
- Hotze’s brother lost. His side got kicked out of the Supreme Court of Texas on a ruling of law made by one of the most conservative supreme courts on the Planet Earth extending throughout the Milky Way and beyond.
Here’s what is not in the court record.
Bruce organized a miserable, pathetic campaign that did not even come close to explaining to Houston voters the real differences between his referendum and the alternate referendum offered by the City.
I was among those at the time trying to convince the Hotze team that the campaign they were running was a disaster in the making. It’s hard to go back in time and understand what some of us understood at the time: the Hotze campaign was pathetic. Period. They were getting their political clocks cleaned because of their incompetent message.
In other words, Hotze’s brother created his problem by getting fewer yes votes than the mayor’s counter proposal got when a competent campaign by Hotze would have and should have produced the exact opposite result.
Here’s the deal: Republican conservative members of the Supreme Court of Texas are not obligated to protect conservative Republican activists from the consequences of their own incompetence just so a power-broker brother might endorse them several years down the road. Since when did the perversion of justice become a conservative family value?
Robert Talton for the Supreme Court of Texas! Was Hotze wearing a bag over his face when he sent that joke to the printer?
This kind of conduct that at least appears to be spiteful on its face, if successful, could jeopardize the credibility of the Republican ticket in November.