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Thankful: Texas Defending the Lone Star State Against Federal Overreach

Texans have much to be grateful for this Thanksgiving holiday. The Lone Star State has taken President Barack Obama to court over 45 times since he became president in 2009 and have fought for state sovereignty and against federal overreach when he has issued executive orders and federal policies.

Governor Greg Abbott, formerly the Texas Attorney General, and the current AG, Ken Paxton, take great pride in saying how many times they have sued the president and his administration, and Texas has frequently been joined by a coalition of states once it has filed suit.

When then-AG Greg Abbott was running for governor, he would frequently proudly tout that he had sued President Obama 31 times. He successfully fought to defend a monument to the Ten Commandments on the Texas Capitol grounds in Austin. He also led a coalition of all 50 states in defending the use of the words, “One Nation, Under God,” in our Pledge of Allegiance, and in defending the right to pray during the Presidential Inauguration ceremony.

Abbott also says he has saved jobs for Texans by fighting for our sovereignty against the “overreaching and unlawful regulations that the EPA has attempted to impose upon Texas.” He says the regulations of the Environmental Protection Agency have killed jobs by burdening employers financially.

Probably the state’s most famous case against the federal government, in particular U.S. Department of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, ended successfully when Texas led a coalition of 26 states against Obama’s November 2014 executive amnesty order. The case originally filed by Greg Abbott, was argued in the U.S. Supreme Court by the Office of Texas AG Ken Paxton.

As reported by Breitbart Texas in June, the nation’s highest court left in place a block of President Obama’s unlawful executive amnesty dictate. The eight-member court has a vacancy left by the death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. On that date, the Court stalled the federal government’s executive amnesty order with a 4-4 vote. The tied decision in United States v. Texas, et al. left in place the lower court decision.

The Fifth Circuit issued a ruling in November 2015 effectively putting the brakes on President Obama’s November 2014 executive amnesty order, as reported by Breitbart Texas. The Fifth Circuit ruled that the lower federal district court did not err in granting a halt to Obama’s executive amnesty program. U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen previously issued the order stopping the president’s actions, as reported by Breitbart Texas.

President Obama used executive action to dictate that the DAPA program (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents) be implemented. Then-Attorney General Greg Abbott (now Texas Governor) filed suit challenging the executive order and led a coalition of 26 states to fight the effort. The case involved the issues of the proper scope of presidential power to bypass Congress, the Immigration and Nationality Act passed by Congress, and violations of the Administrative Procedure Act and other federal laws.

As noted by Breitbart News, the Court declined to rule on the notice-and-comment provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The APA requires a time period for notice to and comment from the public before issuing rules that create public policy mirroring law. A ruling that the federal government violated the provisions would have provided for transparency and government accountability, he wrote.

When the U.S. Supreme Court denied President Obama’s request to rehear the executive amnesty case, Texas AG Paxton said, “The State of Texas’ position has been validated by the U.S. Supreme Court today as they denied the Obama administration’s petition to rehear the immigration case. Rewriting national immigration law requires the full and careful consideration of Congress. This is the latest setback to the president’s attempt to expand executive power and another victory for those who believe in the Constitution’s separation of powers and the rule of law.” As reported by Breitbart Texas, the parties in the litigation have agreed to a stay until exactly one month after President-elect Donald Trump is sworn in.

Texas has also successfully helped defend Voter ID laws when the U.S. Department of Justice was fighting to stop the implementation of these laws. Then AG Greg Abbott filed an amicus or friend of the court brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in Shelby County, Alabama v. Eric Holder. In the summer of 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court held in Shelby County that Section 4’s provision that subjected Texas to preclearance by the Justice Department was unconstitutional. This U.S. Supreme Court decision also settled a fight by Texas over its redistricting plan. Texas and other states were freed from the preclearance and federal approval requirements. Texas also fought a challenge to Texas Voter ID law SB 14 this year and have had more redistricting battles.

Texas has defended HB 2, the state’s abortion law, on a challenge that it unconstitutionally limited access to abortion in the state. Although the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the abortion law, the reaction by Texas leaders to the ruling was strong and swift, as reported by Breitbart Texas.

President Obama has used executive power and federal regulation to do what Congress in their power should do. He has tested the separation of powers doctrine beyond that of other U.S. presidents, and these cases are just some of the examples of where Texas has fought for our state sovereignty when the federal government has aggressively disregarded the Fourteenth Amendment.

We lost our battle in the U.S. Supreme Court in the fight against Obamacare in 2012 and against Syrian Refugee Resettlement, and Obama’s transferring the Internet to global interests this year when Congress failed to act, but we are grateful that it was challenged. The state was forced to dismiss a lawsuit filed by AG Paxton involving medical leave benefits for same-sex couples after the Supreme Court issued its opinion in the same-sex marriage case in June of 2015. Paxton issued an AG Opinion after the ruling which he said was designed to protect the religious liberties of county clerks and public officials in the state.

Our Texas attorney generals have been committed to the fight, and the Texas AG will continue to do so, and for that we are very grateful.

Governor Greg Abbott responded to a January 2016 article by The Washington Post titled, “Obama plans curbs on guns,” by tweeting the article and saying, “COME AND TAKE IT.” His tweet went viral as reported by Breitbart Texas but Texans also knew he meant it.

As reported by Breitbart Texas, Attorney General Paxton is still battling the federal government’s directive in May 2016 that public schools implement its gender fluid transgender bathroom and locker room policies and allow children who are identifying with the opposite sex to use the facility they identify with that day. Paxton has been successful in obtaining a preliminary injunction against the Obama directive which applies nationwide.

As recently as this week as reported by Breitbart Texas, a Texas federal judge blocked a new overtime rule from the U.S. Department of Labor, championed by President Obama, from taking effect nationwide on December 1.

Lana Shadwick is a contributing writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. She has served as a prosecutor and associate judge in Texas. Follow her on Twitter @LanaShadwick2.

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