The Bush family legacy is still very much evolving. Denton, Texas, a town I know very well because my brother lived there for 10 years, has developed into something of a liberalish enclave in north Texas. Austin musicians are moving up there because they can’t afford to live in Austin anymore. It has two schools, one with a legendary music program. So while not exactly hippieland, it is less conservative than the rest of Texas.
Last Tuesday, the voters of Denton did something very unusual for Texas. They passed an ordinance banning fracking in their town. You think the Texas energy elite, filled with scions of the Bush family are going to let that happen in their home state? Nope.
As promised by the oil and gas industry and by Texas Railroad Commission commissioner David Porter, the vote was met with immediate legal backlash. Both the Texas General Land Office and the Texas Oil and Gas Association (TXOGA) filed lawsuits in Texas courts within roughly 12 hours of the vote taking place, the latest actions in the aggressive months-long campaign by the industry and the Texas state government to fend off the ban.
The Land Office and TXOGA lawsuits, besides making similar legal arguments about state law preempting local law under the Texas Constitution, share something else in common: ties to former President George W. Bush and the Bush family at large.
In the Land Office legal case, though current land commissioner Jerry Patterson signed off on the lawsuit, he will soon depart from office. And George Prescott Bush — son of former Florida Governor and prospective 2016 Republican Party presidential nominee Jeb Bush and nephew of former President George W. Bush — will take his place.
George P. Bush won his land commissioner race in a landslide, gaining 61 percent of the vote. Given the cumbersome and lengthy nature of litigation in the U.S., it appears the Land Office case will have only just begun by the time Bush assumes the office.
The TXOGA legal complaint was filed by a powerful team of attorneys working at the firm Baker Botts, the international law firm named after the familial descendants of James A. Baker III, a partner at the firm.
Baker III served as chief-of-staff under both President Ronald Reagan and President George H.W. Bush, Secretary of State under George H.W. Bush and as a close advisor to President George W. Bush on the U.S. occupation of Iraq. He gave George P. Bush a $10,000 donation for his campaign for his race for land commissioner.
Bush, Baker–this is true democracy folks. Remember, America is a meritocracy.
Baker Botts is leading the lawsuit against Denton. George P. Bush will be using this to prepare his inevitable move to governor in the next 10 years. I for one look forward to President Bush in 2036 or so. And no hippies in Denton are going to get in the way of that.