In the past, Texas courts have been known to be inactive in their interpretation of the Texas constitution. That has begun to change. Give examples of these changes, and discuss the outcomes that this may have on the state.

One could argue that the arrival of COVID-19 and the 2020 presidential campaign have reactivated the Texas courts and their interpretation of the state constitution. A lot of the key cases concern Texans’ constitutional rights to vote. Texas courts appear to be active in determining how a Texan can vote. They also appear to have the power to make it harder or easier for a person to vote in Texas.

Expert Answers

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You could claim that the arrival of COVID-19 and the 2020 presidential election has reanimated the Texas courts and their interpretation of the constitution.

One key issue for Texas courts is voting. The risks of voting in person led Texas courts to openly debate whether fear of COVID-19 was a substantial reason to vote by mail instead of in person. Unlike other states, voters under sixty-five must provide a legitimate reason for voting by mail in Texas. In May, the Texas Supreme Court said lack of immunity for COVID-19 was too broad of a reason.

The side that wanted the Texas Supreme Court to approve mail-in voting due to COVID-19 fears said that the Texas Supreme Court was acting against “basic constitutional rights.”

The constitutional right to vote in Texas came up again with regard to drop-off locations. Governor Greg Abbott tried to limit the number of drop-off boxes. Opponents of Abbott’s order claimed he was violating the constitution.

The Travis County State District judge, Tim Sulak, ruled in favor of Abbott’s opponents. Sulak said Abbott’s limitation “needlessly and unreasonably” got in the way of Texans’ “constitutionally protected rights to vote.”

Again, in Texas, it seems like the courts are actively involved in determining how the constitutional right to vote should and shouldn’t be defended.

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