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Texas asks Trump judge to declare most of federal government unconstitutional

Vox: “Earlier this month, Texas’s Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit claiming that the $1.7 trillion spending law that keeps most of the federal government — including the US military — operating through September of 2023 is unconstitutional. Paxton’s claims in Texas v. Garland, which turn on the fact that many of the lawmakers who voted for the bill voted by proxy, should fail. They are at odds with the Constitution’s explicit text. And a bipartisan panel of a powerful federal appeals court in Washington, DC, already rejected a similar lawsuit in 2021. Realistically, this lawsuit is unlikely to prevail even in the current, highly conservative Supreme Court. Declaring a law that funds most of the federal government unconstitutional would be an extraordinary act, especially given the very strong legal arguments against Paxton’s position. But the case is a window into Paxton’s broader litigation strategy, where he frequently raises weak legal arguments undercutting federal policies before right-wing judges that he has personally chosen because of their ideology. And these judges often do sow chaos throughout the government, which can last months or longer, before a higher court steps in. Texas’s federal courts give plaintiffs an unusual amount of leeway to choose which judge will hear their case, an odd feature of these courts that Paxton often takes advantage of to ensure that his lawsuits will be heard by judges who are likely to toe the Republican line. These decisions, moreover, appeal to the deeply conservative United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Paxton filed the Garland case in Lubbock, Texas, where 100 percent of all federal lawsuits are heard by a Republican appointee. Two-thirds of such cases are automatically assigned to Judge James Wesley Hendrix, who will hear this suit. Hendrix, a Trump appointee to a federal court in Texas, is a bit of an unknown quantity. In his brief time on the bench, Hendrix did hand down one poorly reasoned decision undercutting a federal statute that requires most hospitals to perform medically necessary abortions. But Hendrix’s thin record does not tell us enough to know whether he’d actually be so aggressive as to declare most of the United States government unconstitutional…”

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