Opportunity to Oust Another Corrupt Tarrant County JP
“All free men, when they form a social compact, have equal rights, and no man, or set of men, is entitled to exclusive separate public emoluments, or privileges, but in consideration of public services”. – Texas Constitution Article 1, Section 3.
Are we all equal or do different citizens enjoy special privileges and benefits? Our Constitution tells us that we are equal, but are we? Here is a story about how one person, an elected official, gets special privileges above and beyond the normal citizens and blatantly and obscenely abuses her power. To make things worse, this person is a sitting Judge in Tarrant County.
Judge Jacquelyn Wright, one of Tarrant County’s Justices of the Peace, is actively campaigning from her courtroom, which is a clear violation of ethics. She has campaign literature in her courtroom as well as inside her jury room. We have pictures of the flyers and nail files with her messaging (See them HERE, HERE, and HERE.), but there is no telling what she is saying from the bench.
As a taxpayer, YOU are paying for her campaign by paying for the facilities to distribute her materials. It is wholly improper for government buildings to be used to assist a campaign. Imagine walking up to a courthouse and seeing a big banner with the Judge’s name on it right as you go to vote, having county employees make campaign calls during work hours, or even using tax dollars to pay the postage for campaign mailers. It is a slippery slope when we allow government employees to engage in political activity.
In fact, one of our Founding Fathers was concerned about government employees engaging in political activity. “…It is expected that he will not attempt to influence the votes of others nor take any part in the business of electioneering, that being deemed inconsistent with the spirit of the Constitution and the duties to it.” Thomas Jefferson, Executive Order from 1801.
Running for office demands a level playing field. This great nation was founded on the principle that each and every citizen can effect change on our government, as our government is for the people and by the people. By granting special privileges to those in power, we undermine the idea that we have a government that was formed by the consent of those who are governed. What chance does the common citizen have to shape our government, at any level, when the government he seeks to change is repressing the citizen with the citizen’s own tax dollars?
One of the most remarkable things about America is that every four years, this nation experiences a peaceful transition of power, without shedding a single drop of blood. And we have been doing this for over 200 years. No nation-state in history can make such a bold claim, but this is due to the restraints on government established by the Constitution. When people of questionable ethics take power, and abuse that power to suppress the ability for the governed to make change, the very cornerstone of this society begins to crumble.
One would think that activity such as this should not only be an ethical problem, but against the law. And it is. Texas Election Code 255.003 states, in part:
Sec. 255.003. UNLAWFUL USE OF PUBLIC FUNDS FOR POLITICAL ADVERTISING.
(a) An officer or employee of a political subdivision may not knowingly spend or authorize the spending of public funds for political advertising.
(c) A person who violates Subsection (a) or (b-1) commits an offense. An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor.
Class A misdemeanors carry a punishment range of up to a year in jail and up to a $4,000 fine. With the exception of former Judge Russ Casey, it has been almost 2 decades since a sitting Judge in Tarrant County has been prosecuted, and even Casey got away with little more than a slap on the wrist. Perhaps Jacquelyn Wright will continue to receive beneficial treatment and special privileges, despite the words in our Texas Constitution.
Without relying on the government to rescue us from this abuse of power, there are three things you can do. 1.) You can call the Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton, at (512) 463-2100 to prosecute this Election Code violation. 2.) You can call Sharen Wilson, the Tarrant District Attorney at (817)884-1661 to prosecute this crime. 3.) You can pick up your phones and call your friends in Precinct 4 (Saginaw, Lake Worth, Azle, White Settlement areas) and tell them it is critical they go out and vote against Jacquelyn Wright in the Republican Primary this May 22nd. (Early voting May 14-18)
At the end of the day, it is up to us to protect the Constitution and our courts. For if we as individuals will not even pick up a phone to change things, how can we expect things to get better? The garbage does not take itself out.