The Lone Star Way: Why Texas’ Legal War with the Federal Government Could Be the Biggest One YetApril 6, 2012
The debate over what has come to be called Obamacare moved into the eye of a political storm last week as the U.S. Supreme Court weighed the law’s constitutionality. With its civilized tone, the legal discourse was akin to the calm in the center of a hurricane. But at the periphery of the same storm, a multitude of other legal fights are sweeping through federal courts across the country, evidence of the tumultuous relationship between conservative states and the federal government. Some of the strongest winds are blowing out of Texas, a state with a passionate independent streak and a long history of conflict with the federal government.
Some 26 state attorneys general lined up against the Obama Administration on the health care law. Among them was Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, 54, who has made his state a leader in the fight against what he sees as overweening federal power by bringing some 23 lawsuits to federal court, an unprecedented number even for Texas. Abbott, a former Republican Texas Supreme Court justice, has challenged the feds on issues ranging from voter ID to women’s health care, and from clean-air rules to contraception coverage. Last week, Abbott was in Washington to observe the oral arguments on health reform and tweet his impressions: “[Justice Anthony] Kennedy said #Obamacare changes the historic relationship between gov’t and individuals,” he observed, clearly pleased.