Texas

Civil Practices and Remedies Code

Title 5. Government Liability

Chapter 110. Religious Freedom

 

TRFRA Section 110.002 Application

Analysis:

This section explains the reach of the chapter and where it applies. Essentially, it applies everywhere and to every single government actor. It does not exempt courts or judges. It very clearly and plainly says it applies to every government official or actor and to every action that those officials or actors take.

Part (a) applies the chapter to “any ordinance, rule, order, decision, practice, or other exercise of government authority.” At this point we need to introduce a rule or canon of statutory construction. These canons are rules that the appellate courts use to interpret the text of statutes, constitutional phrases, and even court orders. The canon that applies here is the Series-Qualifier Canon, and it states that when there is an adjective followed by a series of nouns, the adjective normally modifies each noun in the series.[1]

That means that to interpret this statute properly we need to read it in its exploded or expanded form, “applies the chapter to any ordinance, any rule, any order, any decision, any practice, or any other exercise of government authority.” This is significant when we get to the last noun as an improper reading could provide wiggle room to those who want to avoid compliance with this chapter. The phrase “any other exercise of government authority” is an absolute inclusionary phrase that leaves little or no wiggle room for judges to escape the application of this chapter. Family court judges undeniably exercise government authority when they issue an “order” or make a “decision” regarding your parental rights.

Part (b) makes it a point to include not just rights but government benefits as well. Some people make the outrageous contention that parental rights are not natural rights but are benefits or privileges bestowed by the state onto parents. There is not a shred of federal case law to support such an egregious assertion and yet many people push this argument to sympathetic judges, especially where parents are divorced or unmarried to each other. Family law judges certainly act as if parents have no rights and that they are bestowing benefits upon them by allowing them to have custody. This part of this chapter puts them on notice that they must comply with this chapter when taking that stance.

Part (c) makes very clear that this chapter applies to every single law in the state unless within the written law it includes language that expressly exempts that statute from the application of this chapter. What this means is that if the legislature wants to remove rights of religious freedom from parents and children in SAPCR, it must explicitly state in the proper chapters that TCPRC TRFRA 110 does not apply to parents in SAPCR proceedings, essentially saying that parents in SAPCR do not deserve the same protections as everyone else. We think that this would be too far politically for the legislature of Texas to go. The legislature might get away with stripping divorced parents of many rights but it is highly doubtful that Texans would allow even the hated divorced parent and their unfortunate children to have religious rights stripped from them. After all, even in the slave days, slaves were allowed to worship, if not freely, certainly in the Christian religion of their owners.

The application of this TRFRA chapter is expansive and there isn’t a government actor or action that is exempt from the coverage of this chapter. Texas, in its religious ferocity, has given divorced and unmarried parents a great gift and a very powerful tool with which to fight for fundamental parental rights. Religious freedom is a hot button issue in Texas and it is one we should stand up and use to its full extent.

Subsequent posts on this topic will continue to explain the power of this statute and how it applies to parents in SAPCR proceedings. You will also find that we have created a package of training and assistance with education on how we might have used this statute in our case and how you might be able to adapt to your case. Keep reading and soon you will learn that using this statute you may get your attorney’s fees and costs paid for by the state of Texas. You may even get compensatory damages for the harm the court did to you and your child up to a maximum of $10,000. So, keep reading and when you have completed the free materials, inquire about the FFC Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act (TRFRA) Package that provides tools and shortcuts that you and your attorney can use to win your equal rights to your children back and to avoid costly mistakes that could prevent you from receiving the protection of this statute.

TRFRA Section 110.001 Definitions:
TRFRA Section 110.002 Application:
TRFRA Section 110.003 Religious Freedom Protected:
TRFRA Section 110.004 Defense:
TRFRA Section 110.005 Remedies:
TRFRA Section 110.006 Notice; Right to Accommodate:
TRFRA Section 110.007 One-Year Limitations Period:
TRFRA Section 110.008 Sovereign Immunity Waived:

Below is the full text of Section 110.002 of the Texas Civil Practices & Remedies Code

 

Texas

Civil Practices and Remedies Code

Title 5. Government Liability

Chapter 110. Religious Freedom

 

Sec. 110.002.  APPLICATION. 

(a)  This chapter applies to any ordinance, rule, order, decision, practice, or other exercise of governmental authority.

(b)  This chapter applies to an act of a government agency, in the exercise of governmental authority, granting or refusing to grant a government benefit to an individual.

(c)  This chapter applies to each law of this state unless the law is expressly made exempt from the application of this chapter by reference to this chapter.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 399, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 30, 1999.

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* The authors of this post are NOT attorneys, we do not practice law, and cannot give you legal advice. What we offer is education on the laws and how they affect you and your children. We help you become better consumers of legal services from attorneys and we help you get better outcomes from the legal system by increasing your knowledge and understanding of how the system works for and against you and your constitutional rights. Make sure you check with an attorney for the legal technical procedures and how you might apply this to your case. We are not responsible for your results or consequences in your suit or dispute for anything you use from this site, packages, videos, or any other information that you get from us.

[1] See Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts, Antonin Scalia & Bryan A. Garner, 2012


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