The court ruling that blocks the Biden administration’s 100-day halt on deportations. The court ruling that orders the administration to restart the inhumane Remain in Mexico policy. The court ruling that blocks new deportation enforcement guidelines. The court ruling just this month that orders the administration to stop excluding unaccompanied children from harmful border policy. What do they all have in common? Ken Paxton.
The Texas Tribune reports the corrupt attorney general of Texas has led nearly two dozen lawsuits against the Biden administration, including legal action targeting everything from internal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) policy changes to programs reuniting Central American children with family already in the U.S. (the courts have not yet ruled on this particular lawsuit).
See, it used to be that the executive office had the power to, you know, tell the government agencies that it controls, like ICE, what to do. But Texas has been suing to subvert that, and it’s doing it because it knows it can. The Texas Tribune reports that “most of its cases—and victories—have played out in Texas courts with judges appointed by former President Donald Trump, who appointed 226 federal judges while in office, a number the former president has bragged about.”
Paxton’s not ashamed either. Immigrant rights advocacy group America’s Voice noted that he’s basically confessed, right there in black and white, to judge-shopping to enact an anti-immigrant agenda. “In addition to trying to reverse Biden’s agenda, Paxton’s office has indicated that it wants to undo a more fundamental part of U.S. law—particularly court rulings that say the federal government has the sole authority over enforcement of immigration laws,” The Texas Tribune continued.
Immigrant rights advocates and legal experts have been warning of Texas and pals’ judicial chaos, which has also targeted “everything from federal mask mandates to halting the long-disputed Keystone XL pipeline,” the report continued. Seven lawsuits have gone in favor of GOP states, and another 9 are pending. Without reform, like court expansion, it’s a fact that it’s only going to get worse.
“They’ve sued the administration over everything from mask mandates to blocking the Keystone XL Pipeline, but Paxton’s favorite target is immigration,” said America’s Voice legal advisor David Leopold. “The Republicans start by attacking Biden’s immigration policy before Trump appointed judges in Texas, all the while knowing that whatever happens they’re all but guaranteed a warm reception in the 5th circuit court of appeals.”
He repeatedly called for attention on this “anti-immigrant judicial pipeline” seeking to successfully funnel cases to the Supreme Court’s six right-wing justices, who believe they are high and mighty but are no less shameful. Just look at Clarence Thomas, who remains on the court even as his spouse, Ginni, has publicly admitted to being a Jan. 6 rallygoer.
“The scheme is simple; nativist Republicans can’t achieve their goals through the legislative process, so they count on their political allies in the judiciary,” Leopold continued. “Paxton’s abuse of the process and the political machinations of the judges and justices gives House and Senate Democrats all the reasons they need to expand the Supreme Court.”
Ken certainly has an overwhelming personal plate, which is just part of the reason why he’d rather keep his focus on immigrants instead. “Paxton has been under indictment since 2015 for securities fraud (the case is still awaiting trial) and is reportedly under FBI investigation over unrelated allegations that he used his office to aid a wealthy ally in exchange for favors,” Daily Kos’ Jeff Singer wrote last November. “He's also facing a whistleblower lawsuit from several former senior aides who say they were fired after they reported Paxton’s actions to law enforcement.”
Truly shameful stuff that warrants a resignation letter at the very least. But we’re talking about people who have no shame. Which is why he continues using his taxpayer-funded position to point to asylum-seeking families and others as the real problem these days.