Texas v. Rhine, which was argued yesterday before the Court of Criminal Appeals, is a case worth following. The appellant was charged with criminal penalties under administrative code promulgated by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. He argued that the provision is void as an unconstitutional delegation of authority by the legislature. If he were to win, it could have far-reaching ramifications for drug laws, some of which rely on a similar delegation of authority authorized under the Texas Controlled Substances Act.
9/23/09 Update. The Court of Criminal Appeals handed down its decision today, holding that, because the legislature “declared a policy and set standards and limitations on the authority delegated to TCEQ that are capable of reasonable application, provide guidance, and limit discretion, it has not unconstitutionally delegated to TCEQ authority more ‘properly attached to’ the legislature and, therefore, there is no violation of the separation of powers principle.” Nice try, Mr. Rhine. Better luck next time.
1/29/10 Revision. Changed category from “Cases of Note” to “Case Law.”