The 401st District Court recently ordered the county to join an on-going extraterritorial jurisdiction legal case between Custer Storage and the City of McKinney. This is just one of several private property rights issues the county is facing. (You may have seen the WFAA piece on a different, yet similar issue.)
Not long ago, I heard former Senator Phil Gramm say, “We are losing the battle for freedom at the city and county level.” Freedom can easily slip away in local skirmishes like these. But we don’t intend to lose the battle here in Collin County.
Getting Personal at the Local Level
At the May 3rd hearing on the Custer Storage case, the judge seemed more interested in discussing the Commissioners Court than the case itself. After three references to the Commissioners Court, I assumed my presence was a distraction. I left the hearing, hoping the judge would focus on the case. Unfortunately, he later spoke about me personally by position, not by name.
The transcript doesn’t do justice to the gratuitous comments from the bench about the Commissioners Court. These comments were not at all germane to the case, but about how we conduct county business. Four separate times the judge came back to the subject of the Commissioners Court with negative comments.
We have now received the final judgment in the Custer Storage case. The judgment rules against a virtually universal reading of state law.
But this sort of opinion-based ruling is not just particular to Collin County’s defense of private property rights.
Getting Political in the Federal Courts
There’s a disturbing trend among some members of the judiciary—a trend toward political justifications for judicial rulings. It’s a shame that we find ourselves at the mercy of courts that would abuse the law for their own ideological purposes.
This Weekly Standard article points to several cases in which federal judges “manipulate the law to achieve morally and politically desirable ends.” In fact, some federal judges are creating opportunities to resist President Trump, using distorted readings of the law as a means to their preferred ends.
At that point, laws become meaningless.
Legal Interpretation Shouldn’t Be Personal Or Political
Just as these federal judges are using the bench as a pulpit to rail against the President, this district court judge has taken this case as an opportunity to rail against the Commissioners Court. Instead, we should focus on the content of the laws that protect private property rights.
The Commissioners Court notified the judge in the Custer Storage case that we will appeal his final ruling on behalf of our property owners. It is vital that this case comes to a just resolution, not only for the parties involved, but for property owners across the state who need to know the law is on their side.