Justice Department files that promised lawsuit over the Texas river wall

It’s what happens next that really matters.

The U.S. Justice Department announced Monday it is suing Texas and Gov. Greg Abbott after the state declined to remove the floating barrier deployed earlier this month on the Rio Grande near Eagle Pass.

The lawsuit, filed in an Austin federal court, alleges the barrier was installed without necessary authorization from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“Because Texas installed the Floating Barrier without seeking the Corps’ authorization, the Corps and other relevant federal agencies were deprived of the opportunity to evaluate risks the barrier poses to public safety and the environment, mitigate those risks as necessary through the permitting process, and otherwise evaluate whether the project is in the public interest,” the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit also alleges that the floating barrier obstructs navigation on the river and demands that the state remove the barrier.


Last week, the Justice Department sent a letter threatening legal action against the state if it did not respond with a commitment to remove the barrier by 1 p.m. Central time on Monday. Abbott responded with a letter to President Joe Biden on Monday morning committing to keep the barrier in place.

See here for the background. The Trib story doesn’t state what the aim of the lawsuit is, but the Associated Press indicates that the feds are asking for the river wall to be dismantled. Which is what I would have expected, but I like to be sure. The question to me is simply does the state of Texas comply if they lose in court, or do they go full Alabama and say “nah” and dare the courts or whoever to make them? And if it’s the latter, what happens then? I genuinely have no idea. I’d also rather not find out, but I fear and suspect that we will. The Chron, which notes that this is the second lawsuit Abbott is facing over this, has more.

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2 Responses to Justice Department files that promised lawsuit over the Texas river wall

  1. C.L. says:

    I plan on filing a suit against Abbott myself, if for no other reason than his decision to use $00.01 of more of my TX tax dollars to place 1,500 linear feet of orange balls in the middle of a 1,000 mile river in an effort to stop folks from crossing same. Misappropration of funds, and a boneheaded move designed to score political points.

    Don’t really matter if the Texas Constitution has some vague language about Texas having the right to defend its State border(s) – the US Constitution does have some, I suspect, language about the Federal Government solely holding that authority and responsibility. Whether or not the Feds are actually doing that is up for debate, but the law is the law.

    M. Garland and the DOJ vs. Abbott & the Texas Atty General du jour… I’m guessing the DOJ will prevail on this one, and in a couple weeks Danielle Guzman will be reporting from Eagle Pass with a loaded flatbed trailer behind her.

  2. Jeff N. says:

    Seems like Abbott parallels George Wallace, who resisted federal court orders in 1963 that enforced Brown v. Board of Education. So JFK federalized the National Guard in Alabama to enforce federal law.

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