After Chest-Thumping Over International Election Observers, Greg Abbott Admits Texas Sovereignty In No Danger

Keep Dallas Observer Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

In an exercise in states' rights fetishization, the Texas Legislature tasked Attorney General Greg Abbott with figuring out whether international organizations are usurping Lone Star sovereignty. If you'll recall, there was an ugly scene leading up to the 2012 presidential election, wherein Abbott, chest out-thrust in his best chickenhawk approximation, threatened to throw the book at international election observers, who, by the way, have witnessed U.S. elections for years. In fact, we send our own observers to elections in places like Russia and Ukraine.

Anyway, a little observing couldn't hurt, given the voter ID laws -- still tied up in court -- that were passed to fight the fraud mirage (or suppress turnout among certain voters).

So, at the behest of our august lawmaking body, Abbott did his diligence and discovered that, no, multinational groups are not, in fact, "[restricting] state law or [intruding] on the sovereignty of the states," according to his report. That there was any confusion here suggests elected reps might benefit from a few high school-level government classes. But we'll air out a few of Abbott's pertinent findings anyway.

You'll be relieved to learn that international law does not generally trump state law. Unless, that is, it is ratified at the federal level. Now, here's the part that must have set Abbott's fingers to trembling as he typed: The Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution -- that sacred document so dear to his heart -- declares federal law the supreme law of the land, as provided for by its text.

Otherwise, the foreign, Orwellian boogeymen the state Legislature must have been hoping to conjure -- whether it's the United Nations or, oddly, the World Health Organization -- aren't actively attempting to erode the freedoms enjoyed by Texans.

Now, the sponsor of the bill that provided for this study, Representative Lois Kolkhorst, a Republican from Brenham, must be very disappointed. It took her three sessions to pass this bill. "If you are like me," she wrote, "I can't wait to see what the study reveals about the decay and damage international laws and bodies are attempting in order to unravel our sovereignty."

All that work, all that paranoia, for naught.

H/T Forrest Wilder.

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.