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Individual Constitution and Systems of the State Essay

During the time when the state’s first declared their independence from Great Britain there was an enormous demand for a balance in power. However, the establishment of such posed to be no easy task for our founding fathers. Originally the new state’s constitutions foundation was based off the thirteen colonial charters (Bowman & Kearney, 2011, p56). Which was modified a short while later, as the colonies were expanded, to include the “rights of Englishmen” (Bowman & Kearney 2011, p. 56). According to Bowman & Kearney (2011), “All state constitutions both distribute and constrain political power among groups and regions” (p. 55). In that such provide the basic and key components for government to allow for an even distribution of power for the three branches, while offering protection for individual rights. “Constitutions represent the fundamental law of a state, superior to statutory law. Only the federal Constitution and federal statutes take priority over state constitutions” (Bowman & Kearney, 2011, p. 55).

Over the course of many years the state’s constitutions have been slowly amended to meet the needs of a growing governmental body. The current Texas constitution was created in 1876 and is composed of a preamble followed by 17 articles, “to include Bill of Rights, Legislative Department, Executive Department, and Judicial Department” (The University of Texas School of Law: Tarlton Law Library: Jamail Center for Legal Research, 2013). Article I of the Texas constitution is the Bill of Rights. It is in this article that individual rights are outlined for citizens in which the government cannot overlook under any given circumstance. Upon reading the Texas Constitution, the impression is given that religious freedom and for no man to be unjustly persecuted by the hand of the government pose to be the most important feature detailed in the Bill of Rights.

Just like the United States Constitution there are limitations to the freedoms being granted in this portion of the Texas document (The University of Texas School of Law: Tarlton Law Library: Jamail Center for Legal Research, 2013). In replica of the United Stated Constitution, state level constitutions are sculpted after the federal government in which it delegates power throughout three branches of government: executive, legislative, and judicial (Bowman & Kearney, 2011, p.27). Article III of the Texas Constitution writes the legislative department; section 1 states that, “The legislative power of this State shall be vested in a Senate and House of Representatives, which together shall be styled “The Legislature of the State of Texas” (The University of Texas School of Law: Tarlton Law Library: Jamail Center for Legal Research, 2013). Sections 2 through 7 details the composition of the legislative department to include the House of Representatives and the Senate and also states the qualifications for such positions. The Senate entails thirty-one members and is prohibited to exceed such limit.

The House of Representatives is comprised “of 93 members until the first apportionment” (The University of Texas School of Law: Tarlton Law Library: Jamail Center for Legal Research, 2013) then it may increase by ratio not to exceed 1 representative per 15,000 inhabitants. However the numbers are to never surpass 150 members. The remainder sections write the limitations of the legislature power, details processes, and conditions the expectations in regards to the conduct of each official (The University of Texas School of Law: Tarlton Law Library: Jamail Center for Legal Research, 2013). In the State of Texas, the Legislative Branch is granted the most powers in writing. One can find supporting evidence to the fact after a complete examination is done of this document. A conclusion can be drawn that as a result of all powers given, this branch is able to have a limited amount of regulation over the other two branches of government. Also, it is here that bills of law are passed to ensure the necessary provisions stated in other articles are upheld. The power of the executive branch is amalgamated from the office of the governor (Bowman & Kearney, 2011, p. 68).

Historically, the executive branch held increasingly more power and stature resulting from constitutional amendments allowing for governors to be elected by popular vote. (Bowman & Kearney, 2011, p. 59). Such unbalance in power eventually led to the people giving governors higher authority to veto legislative bills and granted longer terms. This trend continued through the early 1800s, 1830s and 1840s however, somewhat ended during the Jacksonian Era due to “the Jacksonian principle of popular elections to fill most government offices resulted in a fragmented state executive branch.” (Bowman & Kearney, 2011, p. 59). Within the Texas Constitution the executive branch powers can be found in Article IV, “The Executive Department” (The University of Texas School of Law: Tarlton Law Library: Jamail Center for Legal Research, 2013). The Executive Department must contain “a governor, lieutenant-governor, secretary of State, comptroller of public accounts, treasurer, commissioner of the land of office and attorney general” (Ericson & Wallace, 2010).

Throughout the remainder of the article, elaboration of the rights and responsibilities of each member is outlined (The University of Texas School of Law: Tarlton Law Library: Jamail Center for Legal Research, 2013). The Judicial Branch power is bestowed in a supreme court, courts of appeal, district courts, and various other courts as authorized by the state’s constitution. Usually the state’s judicial branch is headed by the state Supreme Court who tries cases from courts of lower levels (Bowman & Kearney, 2011, p.68). Article V from the Texas Constitution includes the powers of the Judicial Department to be vested in “one Supreme Court, in a Court of Appeals, in District Courts, in County Courts, in Commissioners’ Courts, in Courts of Justices of the Peace, and in such other courts and may be established by law” (The University of Texas School of Law: Tarlton Law Library: Jamail Center for Legal Research, 2013).

The head of the Supreme Court is governed by a chief justice and two associate justices. With further reading, the rules and regulations for the court justices and order of operations can be found written in the sections of this article (The University of Texas School of Law: Tarlton Law Library: Jamail Center for Legal Research, 2013). In conclusion, many amendments have been made to reflect the needs of a growing population all through history. Conferring with Bowman & Kearney (2011), “constitutional revision must be an ongoing process if the states are to cope with the changing contours of American society and stay in the vanguard of innovation and change” (p.70). In addition, meeting the need of such a vastly growing entity can be a difficult mission.

Original limitations set forth by previous documents have been altered to reflect an even distribution of power and added protections for individuals. Due to the Texas constitution’s length of 63,000 plus words it is seen as one of the most verbose document of other states. According to Joe E. Ericson and Ernest Wallace, “Its wealth of detail causes it to resemble a code of laws rather than a constitution. Its many requirements and limitations on both state and local governments make it one of the most restrictive among state constitutions” (Ericson & Wallace, 2010).

References
Bowman, A. O., & Kearney, R. (2001). Sate and Local Government (8th edition).
Boston, MA: Cengage Ericson, J. E., & Wallace, E. (2010, June 12). Constitution of 1876. Retrieved April 12, 2014, from Handbook of Texas Online: https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/mhc07 The University of Texas School of Law: Tarlton Law Library: Jamail Center for Legal Research. (2013). Texas Constitutions 1824-1876. Retrieved April 12, 2014, from Rare Books and Special Collections: http://tarlton.law.utexas.edu/constitutions/texas1876/a1 The University of Texas School of Law: Tarlton Law Library: Jamail Center for Legal Research. (2013). Texas Constitutions 1824-1876. Retrieved April 12, 2014, from Rare Books and Special Collections: http://tarlton.law.utexas.edu/constitutions/texas1876/a5 The University of Texas School of Law: Tarlton Law Library: Jamail Center for Legal Research. (2013). Texas Constitutions 1824-1876. Retrieved April 12, 2014, from Rare Books and Special Collections: http://tarlton.law.utexas.edu/constitutions/texas1876/a4 The University of Texas School of Law: Tarlton Law Library: Jamail Center for Legal Research. (2013). Texas Constitutions 1824-1876. Retrieved April 12, 2014, from Rare Books and Special Collections: http://tarlton.law.utexas.edu/constitutions/texas1876/a3


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