Thepowers of any office holder, as provided by the constitution,determine the effectiveness of that officer in delivering services toelectorates. The powers may be restricted with the objective ofprotecting the opponents of the office holder, since constitutionalpowers may be used to oppress political opponents instead of beingused to protect electorates. This paper will analyze the weaknessesof the governor of Texas, with a focus on the similarities betweenthe U.S. president and the governor of Texas, factors as well ashistorical events that contributed towards the weaknesses of theoffice of the governor of Texas, and make recommendations that canenhance the effectiveness of the governor of Texas.
Differencesand similarities between the and the U.S. president
Themain similarity between the U.S. president and the isthat both of them are constitutionally recognized as the heads oftheir respective jurisdictions. The governor serves as the health ofthe state while the U.S. president serves as the head of the country.The two offices are regulated by the constitutional provision forchecks and balances where, their operations are subject to scrutinyby the judiciary and the legislature. These provisions enhance thebalance of the three arms without impairing their independence. Thetwo offices, U.S. president and the , serve as the topsecurity officers, where they serve as chief commanders of armies intheir respective jurisdictions. Moreover, the holders of the twooffices and mandated to appoint different state officers (includingjudges), but they cannot impeach them since their removal can only beapproved by the Congress. The governor of Texas and the U.S.president can pardon convicts, but under the recommendations of theBoard of Paroles and Pardons.
Theoffice of the governor of Texas and the U.S. president differ in twomajor ways. First, although the constitution provides for theimpeachment of the two leaders, the impeachment of the president isquite difficult given that the constitution has made specific groundsof impeachment, which include the conviction of bribery, treason, andother types of crime as well as misdemeanors. In addition, theprocess of impeaching the U.S. president can only proceed in Congressonly if the mover of the motion of impeachment attains at leasttwo-thirds of the members, unlike the who can beimpeached by the simple majority. Secondly, the U.S. president, tosome extent has some role to play in legislation, unlike the Texasgovernor. The vice president, who serves as the assistant of thepresident is allowed to cast a deciding vote in case of a tie inCongress. The governor of Texas, on the other hand, has not suchopportunities, since the lieutenant general, who controls the Houseof Representatives have not any relationship with the governor and hecould even be a member of a different party.
Factorsand historical events that lead to the weakness of the
Thestrengths of governors of different states can be measured dependingon the powers given to them by the constitutions of their respectivestates and the powers of legislative arms compared to the powers ofthe executive. The current status and powers of the can be traced back to the constitutional reforms that occurred in1876. The framers of the new constitution were highly influenced bytheir experience of the abuse of powers during the period ofReconstruction that occurred soon after the Civil War. Thereconstruction constitution that was framed in 1869 gave theexecutive and the office of the governor excess powers with theobjective of protecting the government from possible rebellion fromConfederate soldiers. However, instead of using the executive powersto protect the state, the new governor, Edmund Davis, oppressed hissubjects who included the political and economic elites.
Thenew constitution distributed the powers that were formerly given tothe governor to other popularly elected leaders, who include thecontroller, attorney general, education board members, agriculturecommissioners, railroad commissioners, lieutenant governor, and landcommissioner. Since then, the governor of Texas has had no controllerover these elected officials, which makes the governor`s position tobe ranked among the weakest top jobs in the U.S.iscurrently the head of a pleural executive.
Althoughlegislators in any government have the powers to oversight theexecutive arm, the relationship between the position of the governorand the house of representatives in Texas have substantially reducedthe powers of the governor. Unlike in other states and in the federalsystems, the constitution of Texas does not provide specific groundsfor the impeachment of the governor. The determination of thesespecifics is left to the discretion of legislators. This implies thatthe House of Representatives has excess powers over the governor,which limits the governor’s ability to execute the constitutionalmandates without the fear of intimidation or threats of impeachment.
Recommendationsfor improving the effectiveness of
Thereare three major changes that can empower the governor of Texas andgive the office holder adequate authority to execute constitutionalmandates more effectively. First, the legal procedure for impeachmentof the should be reviewed. The review should focus onensuring that the criteria for impeachment is more specific andhighlights all factors that need to be considers during the removalof the governor. This will protect the governor from the currentsituation where legislators have the authority to initiate theprocess of impeaching the governor, determine the criteria forimpeachment, and make the final decision through a simple majority.One protected, the governor will be able to serve electorates withoutthe fear of being impeached without valid reasons.
Secondly,the governor’s authority to appoint and remove the state officersshould be enhanced. Currently, the governor of Texas can appointseveral executive officers, but cannot remove them from the officesince they are deemed to have a security of tenure. This means thatthe governor has to work with the body of executives that was inplace before the elections, which limits the governor’s ability todeliver services according to their manifestos. A governor who hasthe authority to remove ineffective officers will be able to operatemore effectively.
Third,the election of the governor and that of the lieutenant generalshould be tied together in the same way that the election of thepresident of the U.S. is tied with the office of the vice president.This is because lieutenant general plays the same roles (includingcasting of the deciding vote in the legislative houses) as the vicepresident. This will help the governor have some influence in theprocess of policy making and enable the governor fulfill the promisesmade during campaigns.
Thepowers of the governor and the U.S. presidents are regulated by theconstitution. However different provisions that are included in theconstitution can be influenced by experiences of the framers of thatconstitution with regard to the abuse of power by the previousleaders. This was the case with the powers of the governor of Texas,were powers of the office were distributed to other executive officesfollowing the abuse of powers by the first governor who was electedduring the reconstruction period. Although the office of the Texasgovernor resembles that of the president of the U.S. in manyrespects, the governor of the process of impeaching the two officeholders is quite different, since the criteria for impeaching thegovernor is defined by legislator while that of removing thepresident is already defined by the constitution. The effectivenessof the governor of Texas can be enhanced through legal as well as theconstitutional changes that will allow the governor to removeineffective officers, defining impeachment criteria, and tying theoffice of the governor with that of the Lieutenant general.