Austin, TX, Release: January 19, 2021 — For Immediate Release
The Republican Party of Texas (RPT) filed an Amicus Brief in the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals asking the court to grant a rehearing of the Stephens v. State case, in which the court rendered an opinion stripping the Texas Attorney General of his long-standing statutory authority to prosecute election law violations including election fraud.
With its opinion, the Court of Criminal Appeals broke with over a century of Texas Supreme Court precedent and reversed an appellate court’s bipartisan decision upholding the Attorney General’s authority to prosecute election fraud. The Texas Legislature further emphasized that authority most recently in Senate Bill 1, the election integrity bill. This opinion circumvents the work of the Texas Legislature and affects the security, fairness, and integrity of elections in Texas.
The brief filed by the RPT states, in part, “In 1951, the Texas Legislature assigned the right to originate criminal prosecutions for election violations to the Attorney General. This right to prosecute did not usurp the authority of Article V prosecutors. Instead, the law emphasized the state’s desire to maintain lawful elections. In 2021, the Texas Legislature revised Texas election laws in response to public concern about election integrity and included the Attorney General as the enforcement centerpiece in the Election Integrity Protection Act of 2021. Now, in one stroke, this Court has discarded over a century of Texas jurisprudence and carefully crafted legislation that upholds and accentuates the authority of the Attorney General to ‘perform such other duties as may be required by law.’ Tex. Const. art. IV, § 22.”