It’s what he does. What else is there to him?
Minutes after President Obama doubled down on his promise to change the country’s immigration system through executive action, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott made a vow of his own: Expect a lawsuit from Texas.
But some legal experts doubt that Abbott, the governor-elect, could successfully challenge the president’s order, which he says he plans to do in federal court.
On Thursday, Obama announced several measures that could shield as many as 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation. That figure includes about 533,000 undocumented people in Texas who are parents of children living in the country legally.
In a statement, Abbott said Obama’s order “circumvented Congress and deliberately bypassed the will of the American people.”
“I am prepared to immediately challenge President Obama in court, securing our state’s sovereignty and guaranteeing the rule of law as it was intended under the Constitution,” Abbott added.
Proponents of the executive action claim the president is acting within his powers, and point to more than 35 cases in which similar presidential measures have been taken since 1956. They specifically cite an action by then-President George H.W. Bush — a Republican — in 1990 that shielded 1.5 million undocumented people from deportation.
A spokesman for the attorney general would not elaborate on Abbott’s statement. He said that the governor-elect made an early case for his claim on Wednesday when he told Fox News that the president had violated two provisions of the U.S. Constitution, including one called the “take care” clause “that requires the president to take care to execute the laws and clearly prevents this type of action the president is trying to undertake.” The other, Abbott said, is a violation of a section of the Constitution that gives Congress — not the president — the authority over immigration laws.
“We have seen in Texas the consequences — and we’ve dealt with them from a cost perspective — of the president’s immigration policy,” Abbott said on Fox News referring to this summer’s flood of unaccompanied minors pouring across the Texas-Mexico border. State lawmakers blamed the surge on a 2012 initiative called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals that has so far protected hundreds of thousands of younger undocumented immigrants from deportation. That surge, Abbott added, gives the state of Texas standing to file suit.
Whatever. Someone has explained to Abbott that his days are going to be different once he’s not the AG anymore, right? The Trib quoted a couple of legal beagles who didn’t think he was likely to get anywhere with this. Kevin Drum spoke to quite a few more. Of course, this isn’t really about whether or not he can win for Abbott. He figures he wins just by talking tough. Like I said, whatever.