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Posts Tagged ‘Texas’
March 25th, 2015 at 5:45 pm
Fifth Circuit Grants Fast-Track Appeal of Obama’s Amnesty Order

Mark your calendars because today the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals granted the Obama administration’s plea to grant a fast-track appeal of a lower court decision blocking a controversial amnesty program for illegal immigrants.

The next stop on the constitutional carousel occurs April 17, when lawyers from the Texas Attorney General’s office representing 26 states square off against counterparts from the federal government. At issue will be whether to overturn a district court order halting implementation of an executive action granting work permits and deportation waivers to an estimated five million people in the United States without authorization.

Granting the fast-track petition doesn’t necessarily mean that the Fifth Circuit – widely considered the most conservative jurisdiction of the federal judiciary – will side with the Obama administration. More likely, it’s a courtesy gesture to the executive branch acknowledging that a resolution to this dispute is needed sooner rather than later. Even still, a final decision could take months to appear and both sides have indicated they will litigate all the way to the Supreme Court to vindicate their position.

In the end, what today’s announcement probably means is that the Supreme Court will hear an appeal next fall instead of the following spring. Just in time for presidential primary season.

February 24th, 2015 at 4:26 pm
Fed Regs May Level Playing Field between California & Texas

Texas has long been held up as the free market alternative to California’s regulation-heavy approach to public policy. Companies like Raytheon and Toyota have relocated because of the cheaper price of doing business, as have thousands of individuals.

But the competitive advantage that Texas enjoys over California could come to a screeching halt if the federal government imposes California-style regulations on the states.

The description of a March 12 event in Houston explains the threat.

“California’s tough environmental rules and planning represent the wave of the future to many planners and pundits, as well as to large parts of the federal government,” says the Center for Opportunity Urbanism. “The goal is to rein in ‘sprawl,’ based largely on questionable environmental and urban design considerations. California consciously seeks to impose a high-density, transit-focused future on the residents of the state.”

It continues, “But California’s policies do not just affect Californians. Many federal agencies, including the EPA and US Fish and Wildlife Service, have embraced the Golden State’s regulations on climate change, wetland and endangered species protections, as role models to be adopted nationally. As California-style regulations diffuse through the federal government, Texas business could soon be subject to many of the same programs and policies.”

This is a good reminder that vigilance at the federal level is necessary to protect economic freedom back home.

February 24th, 2015 at 2:26 pm
Is Obama’s Diva Status a Reason to Accelerate Amnesty Lawsuit?

Consider the following as an example of how much President Barack Obama and his administration think the rule of law should bend to suit their political calculations.

The Justice Department asked a federal court on Monday to reverse its decision to halt the president’s unilateral amnesty directive within 48 hours so that Obama could assure activists attending a town hall in Miami on Wednesday that deportation waivers and work permits would be in the mail.

The expedited timeline is being objected to by Texas and the 20+ other states suing to require the Obama administration to follow federal law and give advance notice and a comment period to the public, reports the LA Times.

Fairness suggests that if the Justice Department took a week to file its request to reverse, Texas and its fellow challengers should get at least as much time to defend their position.

The Justice Department’s self-serving request highlights the central problem driving this litigation – Obama is a diva whose political calculations trump the rule of law.

The federal courts should slap down that dangerous misconception, early and often.

February 23rd, 2015 at 6:36 pm
Gov. Abbott: 20,000 Crossed Texas Border Since January 1

It looks like the surge of illegal immigration across the southern border isn’t getting any better.

“Already this calendar year, since January 1, we have had more than 20,000 people come across the border, apprehended, unauthorized. And so we have an ongoing problem on the border that Congress must step up and solve,” Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, said while appearing on CBS’s ‘Face the Nation’ on Sunday.

Abbott said that to stem the tide he is posting an additional 500 Texas Rangers near the border. The cost for the expanded presence will come from the state’s budget, even though responsibility for securing the border belongs to the federal government.

Abbott was on the show to discuss the Texas-led lawsuit he initiated challenging President Barack Obama’s unilateral amnesty program because it failed to follow federal law granting the public a notice and comment period before being implemented. Last week a federal district judge agreed with the challengers and granted a temporary injunction to halt Obama’s program.

Barely a month into office, Abbott is proving himself to be a conservative leader who knows how to get results in the courtroom and the court of public opinion.

February 18th, 2015 at 5:12 pm
Obama’s Amnesty Program Halted for Failure to Follow the Rules

President Barack Obama seemingly loves to invite controversy and criticism for using executive discretion to rewrite or ignore federal law. He and his allies apparently believe that when critics say his actions violate the Constitution, most people assume the dispute is too complex to understand or simply motivated by ideology.

So perhaps what’s needed to focus the public’s attention is a straightforward line of argument that shows Obama deliberately disregarding a bright line rule.

If so, Judge Andrew Hanen may have found it.

On Tuesday, Hanen granted a temporary injunction to Texas and more than twenty other states suing to stop Obama’s unilateral amnesty from going into effect. The reason is simple. By announcing the plan without any advance notice, Obama violated the Administrative Procedure Act.

The APA is a very important but little known federal law that tries to rein in the administrative state by requiring agencies to give notice and accept comments before implementing changes in policy. Because Obama did not comply with this very simple rule, his amnesty plan is, in effect, illegal.

The Obama administration is already working on an appeal to the Fifth Circuit, and time will tell whether this very straightforward application of the law to the facts is undone somehow with lawyerly sleight-of-hand.

In the meantime, critics of the Obama administration’s disregard for the rule of law can enjoy the fact that, for the moment at least, the most activist president in modern times is being stymied by the very Act that makes governmental activism possible.

December 11th, 2014 at 1:18 pm
Now, 24 States Are Suing to Stop Obama’s Unilateral Amnesty

Nearly half of the States in America are now suing the Obama administration to stop the president’s unilateral and unconstitutional directive to grant temporary amnesty and work permits to as many as five million illegal immigrants.

Current Texas Attorney General and incoming Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, announced four new states joining the coalition he assembled that is seeking to have the federal courts halt a Department of Homeland Security directive that violates both the U.S. Constitution and federal law.

The latest roster includes: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

If this trend keeps up, it won’t take much longer for a majority of states to oppose what to all reasonable observers is an unprecedented power grab by this president.

Hopefully, the federal courts are listening.

December 3rd, 2014 at 5:27 pm
Texas Launches 17-State Lawsuit Against Obama’s Immigration Amnesty

Hello, Greg Abbott!

In my column this week I mention that Abbott, the newly elected Republican Governor of Texas, would file a lawsuit challenging President Barack Obama’s unilateral and unconstitutional order granting temporary amnesty and work permits to as many as five million illegal immigrants.

Alone, Texas’ lawsuit would have generated more attention than most challenges to federal action. But with the inclusion of sixteen other states, it’s sure to get a very serious look from the conservative-leaning federal Fifth Circuit.

According to My Way News, “The lawsuit raises three objections: that Obama violated the ‘Take Care Clause’ of the U.S. Constitution that limits the scope of presidential power; that the federal government violated rulemaking procedures; and that the order will ‘exacerbate the humanitarian crisis along the southern border, which will affect increased state investment in law enforcement, health care and education.’”

If the lawsuit can overcome an important legal technicality – and former Justice Department lawyers John Yoo and Robert Delahunty think it can – then this super-suit may, in time, serve as a Texas-sized roadblock to federal overreach.

August 19th, 2014 at 7:49 pm
Laughable Indictment Could Actually Help Perry in 2016

Today, Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry had to suffer the indignity of turning himself into local law enforcement on absurd charges that he abused his office.

The upshot is that this whole politically motivated affair is very likely about to end without any further dents to Perry’s public image.

In fact, it might even help him.

The water cooler version is that the Democrat who runs the state’s Public Integrity Unit got mad that Perry vetoed funding after she served jail time for drunk driving and refused to resign. Apparently, an Austin-based grand jury thought that was enough to issue two felony indictments for abuse of power.

No serious person who has actually looked at Texas law thinks this will stand up in court. The case is so bad that even liberal pundits are taking the opportunity to defend a staunchly conservative Southern Republican.

As a matter of history, this is at least the third time a sitting Republican official has been the target of a politically motivated criminal prosecution, according to John Fund. The other two – U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay – were both eventually acquitted.

That’s a track record Perry can take comfort in, especially since Texas governors enjoy virtually unlimited discretion to veto appropriations bills. Knowing this, Perry can pledge to “fight this injustice with every fiber of my being” because he knows the prosecution doesn’t have a legal leg to stand on.

When the dust settles and the national media spotlight dissolves, Perry might actually be in a better situation politically than before. Already he’s gained a lot of renewed interest as a potential 2016 GOP presidential candidate for his deft handling of the current border crisis. Add this martyr-making moment to the mix, and Perry might be ready to audition for the role of Comeback Kid.

July 10th, 2014 at 5:07 pm
Texas Not Turning Blue While Obama in State

President Barack Obama went to Texas this week, and all he got was a few million dollars in campaign donations amid a bipartisan smackdown.

Obama was in the Lone Star State to help fundraise for various liberal candidates and causes as part of a much larger effort to ‘Turn Texas Blue’ for Democrats.

But his performance outside the rubber chicken circuit angered officeholders across the political spectrum.

The issue is Obama’s refusal to visit Texas’ southern border where tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors are streaming into the country and causing a humanitarian crisis.

“I don’t know whether he heard what I said,” Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry told Sean Hannity. After being ignored by Obama for months, Perry finally got a brief face-to-face with the president aboard Marine One.

Perry urged Obama to deploy the National Guard to the border as a national security measure. Obama demurred. “A leader acts,” Perry said, “and what I haven’t seen out of this president are actions that make me think he understands what’s going on.”

Henry Cueller agrees. The Texas Democratic congressman says that Obama’s refusal to visit the border and get a firsthand account of the situation risks creating his own ‘Katrina moment;’ a reference to George W. Bush’s slow response to a hurricane disaster that quickly sunk his presidency.

Prior to this Texas Democrats had been gearing up to capture the state’s top political offices.  The 2014 election was supposed to be a milestone. But with Obama’s failed policies and lackluster performance hurting its credibility, it looks increasingly like a tombstone.

May 28th, 2014 at 5:33 pm
Texas Tea Party Knocks Off GOP Lt. Gov. in Run-Off

It’s been a tough two years for outgoing Texas Republican Lt. Governor David Dewhurst. First, he lost a bitter U.S. Senate primary fight to Ted Cruz in 2012, and yesterday he was blown out 64-36 percent in a run-off election to maintain his current job. After more than a decade in statewide office, the multi-millionaire Dewhurst is out on the political streets.

None of this was inevitable. Dewhurst was an early favorite in his matchups with Cruz and Patrick; the latter currently serving as a State Senator and formerly as a conservative radio show host. Not long ago Dewhurst was trying to shore up his conservative bona fides by shepherding a Voter ID law over strenuous objections from Democrats. However, even that wasn’t enough to overcome his past support for in-state college tuition for illegal immigrants and other moderate tendencies.

When Ted Cruz challenged Dewhurst for the Senate it was said that the standards for conservatives had to be higher in Texas than most other states. Dan Patrick is perhaps the most outspoken elected conservative in Texas politics right now, with a clear path to becoming one of the most powerful political figures in the state.

In two years, Texas Republicans have selected two deeply committed conservatives to important offices with national reach. Time will tell if Cruz and Patrick make good on their opportunities.

May 1st, 2014 at 8:01 pm
Toyota Votes for Texas over California

Toyota is moving its U.S. headquarters from Torrance, CA to Plano, TX. The move is estimated to generate a combined $140 million annually in local property and sales taxes for the Dallas suburb.

The announcement comes on the heels of at least 250 other California-based companies heading to the Lone Star State, according the Dallas Morning News.

Industry icons include Occidental Petroleum Corp. moving some of its facilities from Los Angeles to Houston; Raytheon Co. transferring aerospace units to McKinney from Southern California; and Trend Micro Inc. changing its corporate address from Silicon Valley to Irving.

For his part, California Governor Jerry Brown isn’t concerned. “We’ve got a few problems, we have lots of little burdens and regulations and taxes, but smart people figure out how to make it [in the state],” he said at an event when asked about Toyota.

Then again, maybe smart people will opt for pro-business locations that don’t inflict “lots of little burdens and regulations and taxes.”

July 25th, 2013 at 5:02 pm
Holder Can’t Wait to Revive Stricken Piece of Voting Rights Act

Less than a month after the Supreme Court lifted an outdated “preclearance” formula off the backs of states like Texas, Eric Holder’s Justice Department is trying to reinstate the restrictions by inviting judicial activism.

The move comes in response to the Supreme Court’s invalidation of a coverage formula in Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Previously, states with a history of racial discrimination had to seek Justice Department approval – preclearance – before enacting any changes to their election laws. The problem for states like Texas is that the formula for deciding which jurisdictions are required to submit to preclearance hasn’t been updated in decades, making it virtually impossible to get out from under the federal government’s thumb.

In striking down Section 5’s coverage formula, the Court said that Congress is free to create a new formula based on current data. But with the legislative branch divided, few think any action is imminent.

And so, in keeping with the Obama administration’s motto “We Can’t Wait,” Attorney General Holder announced today that his department won’t wait for Congress to update the law. Instead, lawyers at Justice are filing lawsuits against Texas and other jurisdictions seeking to reinstate preclearance on a case-by-case basis.

The cost to taxpayers will be huge, since both sides of the “v.” are government employees. Each federal judge hearing a case will act as a mini-Congress by making factual findings before crafting a rule of law to determine the outcome. Of course, these decisions will be litigated up the lengthy federal appellate chain; all the way to the Supreme Court, if possible.

What makes this an affront to the constitutional design of separation-of-powers is the deliberate intent of one arm of the executive branch to invite members of the judiciary to make laws that Congress will not pass.

Granted, for well-connected attorneys like Holder it’s cheaper to litigate the Left’s pet projects on the taxpayer’s dime rather than as a private lawyer working pro bono. But as Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry said in response, Holder’s actions really amount to “utter contempt for our country’s system of checks and balances.”

June 13th, 2013 at 7:01 pm
Pro-Texas Ad Campaign in Anti-Business Blue States

Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry is once again visiting Democratic strongholds in an attempt to lure businesses to relocate to the Lone Star State.

Perry is set to meet with business groups in New York and Connecticut, reports National Public Radio. Previously, Perry extolled his state’s low-tax, light-regulation approach in California and Illinois.

But Perry’s initiative is more than just a series of speeches and photo-ops. His moves are coordinated with the work of TexasOne, a coalition of chambers of commerce and corporations funding a $1 million advertising campaign in the targeted states.

YouTube ads like “Texas is Calling” tout the state’s nine consecutive years ranked #1 for business, hosting the world’s largest medical center and welcoming 1,400 new residents a day.

With states like California, Illinois, New York and Connecticut ranking near the bottom in business-friendly taxes and regulations, it’s no wonder Perry sees an opportunity to let wealth creators in those states know there is an alternative.

February 22nd, 2013 at 12:30 pm
More on the Growing Charter School Movement

Nationwide, there are 5,277 charter schools serving 1.6 million K-12 students.

But not all of them are urban minority, low-income students.  Some serve suburban middle class families looking for an alternative to the curriculum on tap in a traditional public school.

For example, Hillsdale College is spearheading a national campaign to create at least one charter school in every state with a classical education curriculum.  Readers of the school’s popular Imprimus publication won’t be surprised to learn that that “These schools will be based on a classical liberal arts model and have a strong civics component that will equip students to understand and defend the principles of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution,” according to the college’s website.

So far, three parent groups have partnered with Hillsdale to create this distinctive new brand of charter school in Georgia, New Mexico, and Texas.  The Texas version, Founders Classical Academy in Lewisville, began construction in 2012, and expects to start classes this fall.

Hillsdale’s involvement shows that the real genius of the charter school option is that it allows any community of families, regardless of socio-economic status, to opt out of a public school system overburdened by bureaucracy, unions, and questionable curriculum standards.  The charter school option gives local families the choice to spend their tax dollars to, in the words of Founders Classical Academy, “provide a well-rounded education that is distinctively classical, that pursues knowledge, promotes virtue, and prepares students for prosperous lives in a free society.”

What more could a conservative education reformer ask for?

November 30th, 2012 at 12:06 pm
Texas’ Ted Cruz in the Mix for 2016?

Politico excerpts some of an intriguing speech by U.S. Senator-Elect Ted Cruz (R-TX) to a conservative audience last night in Washington, D.C.:

While the 41-year-old Cuban-American warned that Republicans need not abandon their principles in order to rebound electorally, he did suggest the party should retool its rhetoric on economic and cultural issues.

“We need to embrace what I call ‘Opportunity Conservatism.’ We need to conceptualize, we need to articulate conservative domestic policy with a laser focus on opportunity, on easing the means of ascent up the economic ladder,” he said.

While he conceded the party’s harsh tone on immigration was undoubtedly a factor, Cruz cited Mitt Romney’s infamous “47 percent” comment as the main reason the president performed so well with Hispanics.

“I think far more important was 47 percent. … Republicans nationally, the story we conveyed was that 47 percent are stuck in a static world. We don’t have to worry about you, what that clip famously said. I cannot think of an idea more antithetic to the American principle,” Cruz said.

“We embraced in that comment, and in the narrative we made to this country, the Democrat notion that there is a fixed and static pie. … The rich are the rich, the poor are the poor, and all that matters is redistributing from one to the other. The essence of the conservative message should be we want a dynamic nation where anybody with nothing can achieve anything,” he added to cheers from the audience. “We did an incredibly poor job at articulating the message of opportunity.”

If Cruz jumps into the 2016 presidential contest with other possibilities like Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and Paul Ryan, the GOP – and the conservative movement that animates it – will be better for it.

November 13th, 2012 at 8:21 pm
35,000 People Want Texas to Secede

A story in the Houston Chronicle on being careful what you wish for:

When the White House promised that any online petition getting more than 25,000 signatures would get a thorough review and an official response, officials probably weren’t thinking about requests for secession.

But on Monday – less than a week after President Barack Obama’s re-election – a petition on the White House website calling for Texas to secede from the union has received more than 35,000 signatures, far more than similar requests from other states.

July 13th, 2012 at 6:28 pm
Texas Voter ID “Clown Show”

A bit late, I post this tremendous account by Christian Adams of the almost criminally incompetent (and ideologically nuts) Justice Department behavior in a key trial over Texas’ voter-ID law. Amazing stuff.

One tiny excerpt:

But the testimony got even more ridiculous.  San Antonio teenager Victoria Rodriguez travelled the whole way to Washington, D.C., for the clown show.  She testified that she did not have photo ID, even though she had the birth certificate to get a free one.  Her excuse?  She couldn’t find the time. Neither could her parents be bothered to drive her to get the ID.  One wonders if Victoria Rodriguez ever leaves the house, or when she does, if she has other priorities besides voting.  I’d suspect so.

One also wonders why DOJ lawyers decided to put her on the stand.

This travesty, this abomination, is typical of the Obama-Holder (in)Justice Department. For shame.

July 6th, 2012 at 5:27 pm
Mexico Requires Universal Voter ID; Will Holder’s DOJ Sue?

John Fund tossed in this nugget when comparing America’s scandal-plagued voting system with other countries:

Mexico — which just last week carried off a national election with a universal photo-ID requirement for voting — spends roughly 10 times more per capita on elections than the U.S. and has virtually eliminated charges of voter fraud or incompetence. We can vastly improve our system with much smaller investments. (Emphasis added)

I wonder how U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder would react if he knew this.

At CFIF, we’ve hammered Holder for equating photo-ID for voting with racism.

With his blessing, the Department of Justice denied photo-ID requirements passed in South Carolina and Texas on the grounds that they violate the 1965 Voting Rights Act, an Act ensuring minorities of their right to vote.  By refusing to sign-off on the South Carolina and Texas laws, Holder’s DOJ is saying the photo-ID laws are racist.

The fact that photo-ID laws have been supported by Jimmy Carter and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court as “unquestionably relevant to the State’s interest in protecting the integrity and reliability of the electoral process” are of no importance to Holder & Co.

America is a nation of “cowards” and racists, says the AG, so requiring photo-ID must be just another name for Jim Crow.

And yet here we have Mexico, a country familiar with historic racial tension amongst descendents of the Aztecs, Spanish settlers, and their offspring, conducting a free and fair election that peacefully transitioned power between political rivals.

Could it be that Mexico’s photo-ID requirement – like South Carolina and Texas – had a purpose other than disenfranchising a racial minority?

Maybe the next time Holder gets blasted by the Mexican government for not informing them of Fast and Furious he can change the subject with some pointed questions about Mexico’s racist photo-ID laws.  I’m sure he’d get a fair hearing…

March 16th, 2012 at 12:43 pm
Former CA U.S. Senate Candidate Moves to Texas

Former California Assemblyman and 2010 Republican U.S. Senate candidate Chuck DeVore explains why he gave up on the Golden State and moved to Texas in an article for National Review.

Here’s just one example of the differences between the states:

In his State-of-the-State address this January, California governor Jerry Brown said, “Contrary to those declinists who sing of Texas and bemoan our woes, California is still the land of dreams. . . . It’s the place where Apple . . . and countless other creative companies all began.”

Fast forward to March: Apple announced it was building a $304 million campus in Austin with plans to hire 3,600 people to staff it, more than doubling its Texas workforce.

California may be dreaming, but Texas is working.

February 23rd, 2012 at 7:40 pm
Texas’ Marco Rubio Makes Unforced Error

I’ve written previously about former Texas Solicitor General and U.S. Senate candidate Ted Cruz.  He’s a towering legal intellect and a conservative’s conservative.  His Cuban heritage and up-by-the-bootstraps story from son of immigrants to Princeton and Harvard Law are legendary.  His ill-chosen words about Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) are not.

In an interview with the Dallas Morning News reported by Roll Call, Cruz said he was “not going to prejudge” the upcoming Senate GOP leadership race where Cornyn is running for GOP whip, one step below party leader.  Based on his comments, Cruz seems to be saying that if he becomes Texas’ next U.S. Senator he might vote for someone besides Cornyn if the opponent is more of a constitutional conservative.

That’s all well and good, and Cruz’s scenario may even come to pass, but the first-time campaigner made a rookie mistake by refusing to support his fellow Texas Republican in what amounts to little more than deference to a party elder.  After all, as head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee Cornyn has his hands on millions of dollars in fundraising that he could use to either hurt or help Cruz in the latter’s current primary battle.

So far, Cornyn has honored his pledge to stay neutral in the primary.  Chances are he’ll keep that pledge, but Cruz’s unforced error makes it more likely that Cornyn would be fine if David Dewhurst, Cruz’s primary opponent and sitting Lieutenant Governor, frames Cruz’s comments as a signal he can’t be both a conservative and a Republican at the same time.

By contrast, Florida’s Marco Rubio isn’t having that problem.  Without sacrificing any of his conservative bona fides Rubio has managed to win the confidence of party elders and is no doubt on the vice presidential short list of every remaining Republican presidential candidate.  Cruz needs to take a page from Rubio’s playbook because Texas – and America – needs as many constitutional conservatives as we can get in the U.S. Senate.