Texas is suing the federal government about abortion clinic regulations, immigration, and now school bathrooms. And that’s not all.
The number of Texas suits against the federal government is growing. One might—accurately—deduce that Texas is presently not thrilled with Washington DC.
We will need to call the new suit filed against the United States in the Northern District of Texas something besides Texas v. United States in the popular media, as the suit comes while we wait for the Supreme Court opinion in United States v. Texas, in which the Obama administration issued regulatory directives that amend U.S. law on immigration. We are also waiting for the opinion in the Texas abortion regulations case this term. Both are popular news cases, although the latter is called Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt, so is less likely to cause confusion when the press refers to it properly.
In the newly filed lawsuit, 11 states, a state governor, and assorted school districts in Texas and Arizona have brought suit against the federal government based upon the open school bathrooms guidance the Obama administration issued two weeks ago. Adding to the title confusion, the basic argument for the TX v. U.S. bathroom and the U.S. v. TX immigration suits is essentially the same, although I only got hints of the underlying arguments in the New York Times coverage.
In most everyone else’s rush to post the announcement of “states sue federal government”—again—on their websites, this case is about open school bathrooms and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott nonsensically declaring that “Obama is not a king.” Those are very click-y details, and distinguishing the cases as the school bathroom or young immigrants lawsuit offers reporters many options for emotional hooks.
But those reporters avoid addressing the legal issue. Whether this is because they do not know of or understand that legal issue (Ben Rhodes, please call your office) or because they have seized the opportunity to make a conservative governor’s comment seem like royal straw man nonsense by not offering the context, we can judge case by case.
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