Rosemary Lehmberg, the District Attorney of Travis County, Texas, does not serve at the pleasure of Texas Governor Rick Perry — she serves at the pleasure of the voters of Travis County. The law Perry has been accused of violating, by trying to coerce Lehmberg into resigning, was designed to keep such lines of demarcation clear.
It’s actually a pretty good law, and totally in line with Texas ideas about government. It promotes the decentralization of power by prohibiting powerful officials from bullying less powerful officials, setting a strict limit on the power any particular official can exercise.
Perry’s indictment thus contains a profound irony. Texas libertarians and conservatives are being hoist by their own petard, with one of their own tripped up by a law designed to enforce their own beliefs about limiting the power of government officials.
The debate seems to be centered on whether or not Perry was right to want Lehmberg to resign, and a good case can be made that she should have, but that’s not the legal issue in play — it’s whether or not Perry tried to coerce Lehmberg into resigning, in violation of Texas law.