Texas Supreme Court Rules San Antonio Justice Charter Remains as One Ballot

The Texas Supreme Court ruled Saturday that the San Antonio Justice Charter, also known as Proposition A, will remain as one ballot in the May 6 municipal election.

The ruling came after the anti-abortion group Texas Alliance for Life filed an emergency writ of mandamus in mid-February. The group argued that Proposition A should be split into several city charter amendments because it contains a number of policy reforms, including the decriminalization of abortion and possession of marijuana.

They said that’s a violation of state law because it’s illegal for city charter amendments to include multiple topics. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed an amicus brief in support of the effort

In a 6-3 decision, the court’s ruling said it rejected the Texas Alliance for Life’s petition because it had a “longstanding commitment to avoid undue interference in elections.”

Despite Prop A not being struck down before the municipal election, the court’s ruling said a potential future post-election challenge could still affect Prop A if it passed.

In response to the Texas Supreme Court’s decision, Texas Alliance for Life Communications Director Amy O’Donnell issued a statement.

“We are tremendously disappointed by the Texas Supreme Court’s decision to allow the San Antonio Proposition A charter amendment to remain on the May 6 ballot, despite clear violations of state law,” O’Donnell said in the statement. “We raised significant grounds in our briefs about how Prop A infringes on voters’ rights.”

She added in the statement that the Texas Alliance for Life would now turn to organizing voters against Prop A in the election.

In a statement released by Ground Game Texas and ACT4SA, Ground Game Texas political director and general counsel Mike Siegel said the court’s decision safeguarded democracy.

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“Direct democracy is a principle that underpins our society and the court’s decision protects that principle,” he said. “The people of San Antonio have a constitutional right to amend their city charter and enact much-needed criminal justice reform. We look forward to putting this groundbreaking initiative in front of the citizens of San Antonio in May.”

Prop A would deprioritize abortion enforcement and low-level marijuana offenses, expand and codify the county’s cite-and-release program, ban warrants and police chokeholds, and appoint a city justice director to oversee the city’s justice policy, although the city attorney has said that only the justice director position can be enforced.

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