What is the government’s incentive to pass constitutional laws?

November 26th, 2013

I recently heard a member of the Texas legislature speak, and she was talking about some piece of legislation. She mentioned that the law in question would probably be subject to a constitutional challenge, so they modified the law to make it work (no, not the abortion law). Why did they modify the law? The reason she gave was “It is expensive to defend laws in court.” This legislator was an attorney. I was struck that she didn’t say, “Well, we should follow the Constitution.” Instead she said, “Well, we don’t want to have to pay to defend a law, so let’s push the Constitution as far as we can go without the courts striking it down.” In fairness, no one knows what courts will do in advance. But I found her response telling.