Archive for May, 2008

posted by Jerry Patterson - Texas Land Commissioner on May 8

“I, Jerry Patterson, do solemnly swear or affirm, that I will faithfully execute the duties of the office of Commissioner of the General Land Office of the State of Texas, and will to the best of my ability preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States and of this State, so help me God.”

I understand that solemn oath as a commitment similar to the oath I took decades ago as an officer in the United States Marine Corps to “uphold and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” I do not regard such affirmations as mere anachronistic formalities. I feel compelled to uphold these commitments even at the risk of my political future in the case of the oath of office as Commissioner, or of my life as in the case of my past career as a Marine.

You’ll note that the above recitation DOES NOT STATE I “will preserve, protect, and defend the constitution and laws of the United States and of this state” ONLY WHEN APPLICABLE TO THE DUTIES OF LAND COMMISSIONER.

The 2nd Amendment provides that, “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

Art 1 Sec 23 of the Bill of Right of the Texas constitution also provides, “Every citizen shall have the right to keep and bear arms in the defense of himself or the State; but the Legislature shall have power, by law, to regulate the wearing of arms with a view to prevent crime.”

Transferring 9300 acres to an agency of the federal government that clearly ignores these constitutionally enumerated rights would simply violate my oath of office. I can only assume that the Fort Worth Star-Telegram believes elected officials should not be expected to comply with their oaths of office.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram may consider my position “untenable” and my zeal for the Bill of Rights “obstinate” and an “obsession,” but I couldn’t care less. In my opinion, any elected or appointed official at any level of government lacking the same zeal and commitment to the U.S. and Texas constitutions should be subject to impeachment.

I guess you can just call me an old-fashioned believer in the wisdom of those who penned the Bill of Rights and not much of a believer in the wisdom of editorial boards.

In the case of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, it’s not even close.

Jerry Patterson
Commissioner, Texas General Land Office
LtCol., USMCR, ret.

[Editor's Note: This is Commissioner Patterson's response to a Fort Worth Star-Telegram editorial appearing on May 8, 2008.]

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