Article IV, Section 1 of the Texas Constitution

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As amended November 7, 1995:

The Executive Department of the State shall consist of a Governor, who shall be the Chief Executive Officer of the State, a Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Comptroller of Public Accounts, Commissioner of the General Land Office, and Attorney General.

Editor Comments

This section originally created seven executive offices. However, in 1995, voters overwhelmingly approved an amendment that abolished the office of state treasurer.

The officers listed in this section have no inherent powers. They may exercise only the authority granted by other parts of the state constitution or by the Legislature.

Steve Smith

Recent Decisions


Historic Decisions

  • Garcia v. Laughlin, 285 S.W.2d 191, 194 (Tex. 1955) ("Article 4, § 22, defines the duties and powers of the Attorney General to represent the State '* * * in all suits and pleas . . . . The powers conferred by the Constitution upon the state officials are generally held to be exclusive, and except in the manner authorized by the Constitution, these powers cannot be enlarged or restricted. Maud v. Terrell, supra; Brady v. Brooks, 99 Tex. 366, 89 S.W. 1052; Harris County v. Stewart, 91 Tex. 133, 41 S.W. 650; State v. International & G. N. R. Co., 89 Tex. 562, 35 S.W. 1067; Staples v. State, supra.")
  • State v. Ferguson, 125 S.W.2d 272, 276 (Tex. 1939) ("[A] judge has no more power to direct and supervise an officer of the executive department of government in the manner and method of discharging his official duties than would a sheriff or other executive officer have to direct a judge in the manner and method of discharging his official duties. Were a sheriff to serve notice upon a judge to speed up the trial of his cases so that litigants might not be damaged by delay or should direct the judge to enter no judgment except one which he had good reason to believe was correct, no one would champion his right to do so.")
  • Brand v. San Patricio County, 80 S.W.2d 460, 461 (Tex.Civ.App.—San Antonio 1935, ref'd) ("In support of this contention appellant cites article 1735, R. S. 1925, which reads as follows: 'The Supreme Court only shall have power, authority or jurisdiction to issue the writ of mandamus or injunction or any other mandatory or compulsory writ or process against . . . . The banking commissioner is not mentioned in the above provision of the Constitution, and it has been in effect held that the provisions of article 1735 apply to the executive officers named in article 4, § 1, of the Constitution.")
  • Dickson v. Strickland, 265 S.W. 1012, 1015 (Tex. 1924) ("The qualifications of public officers, when defined by the Constitution, are as clearly beyond change by the Legislature as are the qualifications of electors when fixed by constitutional provision. It is the declared law, by both the Court of Criminal Appeals and the Supreme Court of this state, that it is beyond the power of the Legislature to add an additional qualification for an elector to those prescribed by the Constitution. Solon v. State, 54 Tex. Cr. R. 261, 114 S.W. 349; Koy v. Schneider, 110 Tex. 378, 218 S.W. 479, 221 S.W. 880.")
  • Terrell v. Sparks, 135 S.W. 519, 521 (Tex. 1911) ("If the effect of that agreement is to constitute Terrell an officer of the state, then his appointment and continuance in office would depend upon the continuance of the term of the Attorney General, who appointed him, and his authority terminated when the Attorney General qualified for his succeeding term and Gov. Campbell went out of office . . . . We are of opinion that Terrell had no official relation to Lightfoot, and that his contract did not terminate with the expiration of the term of office of the Governor and the Attorney General.")
  • Day Land & Cattle Co. v. State, 4 S.W. 865, 867 (Tex. 1887) ("It may be that, in the exercise of the general powers conferred upon the governor of the state, as its chief executive officer, he would have the power to require the attorney general to institute, or to cause to be instituted, a suit of this character, when in his judgment the welfare of the state required it, even though the legislature had not so directed; but, in a government in which the duties of all officers, as well as their powers, are defined by written law, no power ought to be exercised for which warrant is not there found.")
  • State v. Moore, 57 Tex. 307, 310-11 (1882) ("[T]he officers of the different departments are to a very large extent independent of and free from the control of the heads of other departments, yet in the very nature of things, in the details of business, occasions will and do arise, where officers of the executive department do and ought to exercise a power at least advisory over some officers, who, although classed in a different department, exercise powers in fact partaking more of the character of executive power than of judicial power; among these are district and county attorneys, sheriffs and constables.")
  • Houston Tap & B. Ry. Co. v. Randolph, 24 Tex. 317, 343 (1859) ("This being the case in the United States government, results in the entire unity of its executive department. The absence of that absolute power of the chief executive in this state, must occasionally produce a want of harmony in the executive administration, by the inferior officers of that department, declining to comply with the wishes, or to follow the judgment of the governor. That is an inherent difficulty in the organization of that department, and the conflicts arising out of it, cannot be adjudicated or settled by the judiciary.")

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