In an unexpected move, Texas, traditionally viewed as a conservative stronghold, is set to present an argument in the Supreme Court that contradicts conservative principles and challenges constitutional provisions.
At the heart of the case is the 14th Amendment, a pivotal Congressional achievement that stands as a cornerstone of rights and citizenship in the United States. Texas, supported by what is considered one of the most conservative federal appellate courts, will make an argument that diverges radically from conservative ideologies and showcases a misunderstanding of both the Bill of Rights and the 14th Amendment.
The case, involving Richard DeVillier, raises a critical question posed by Robert J. McNamara of the Institute for Justice, which represents DeVillier: Does the Constitution hold significance if states can circumvent its mandates? The facts of the case, which should align with pertinent constitutional provisions, remain largely uncontested.
The Texas Transportation Department’s renovations on a section of Interstate 10 have resulted in severe flooding on DeVillier’s farm and neighboring properties near Houston. Texas acknowledges that the flooding was an intended outcome of altering the highway’s configuration, intended to act as a dam to ensure one side remained passable during heavy rains, creating a storm water detention pond on the other side.
Despite the ongoing devastation caused by the floods, Texas has refused to modify the dam or permit DeVillier to mitigate the damage using his equipment. The state has yet to contest the evident reality: that this amounts to a governmental “taking” of DeVillier’s land for “public use.” Instead, Texas maneuvered the lawsuits to a federal court, arguing that affected individuals cannot sue the state unless Congress enacts legislation permitting such suits under the Fifth Amendment.
This case spotlights a departure from conservative principles by a state government, showcasing an alarming disregard for property rights and constitutional protections. The looming Supreme Court hearing will offer insight into the intersection between state power, individual rights, and constitutional obligations, posing broader implications for the sanctity of constitutional provisions in similar scenarios across the country.