The Craddick Writes Back
By Richard Whittaker,
1:54PM, Fri. Aug. 10, 2007
After several ranking GOPers weighed in last week against Speaker Tom Craddick in the legal debate over his powers, the Head of the House has unleashed his own attack dogs again.
First new parliamentarian Terry Keel (who has already sent one brief to Attorney General Greg Abbott) fired off a rebuttal to the big-name anti-Craddick GOPers. Filed on August 3 and pushed out as a press release by Craddick this week, it tries to dismantle the argument put by Rep. Charlie Geren, R-River Oaks, et al by sending in some transcripts of debates that back up his analysis. How successful cherry-picking certain debates will be is a real question. Interestingly, he doesn't re-iterate the line taken by the majority of Craddickites that Abbott has no authority on this issue.
Then Abbott deployed his own lawyers, Gregory Coleman and Christian Ward of Yetter & Warden LLP. They take a much more technical approach to saying "The Speaker can do whatever the hell he wants." But there's also a little political slight-of-hand. They do try to proffer Abbott the "get out of jail free" card of saying he has no authority over House issues, and cite a bunch of legislators that they say back this line, including Jim Dunnam, D-Waco. Only that's not what he said: he argued that because he's an elected Republican passing judgment on other elected Republicans, that's where the real issue is.