Houston Matters

Does Texas Get its Money’s Worth from Suing the Federal Government?

Texas has always had a bit of a contentious relationship with the federal government – especially lately. Recent analysis of state data from The Texas Tribune says that since Pres. Obama took office in 2009, the state has sued his administration at least 43 times. Gov. Greg Abbott (our former attorney general) filed 31 of […]

Photo: Michael Hagerty, Houston Public MediaTexas has always had a bit of a contentious relationship with the federal government – especially lately.

Recent analysis of state data from The Texas Tribune says that since Pres. Obama took office in 2009, the state has sued his administration at least 43 times. Gov. Greg Abbott (our former attorney general) filed 31 of those lawsuits, and his successor, current Attorney General Ken Paxton, has filed the other 12 — just since taking office last year.

What exactly are these lawsuits? Well, one of the most recent examples deals with transgender children and bathrooms in schools. Pres. Obama issued federal guidelines for dealing with issues of gender and bathrooms. But then the state sued the administration over those guidelines because, as Gov. Abbott says, the president is “trampling the United States Constitution.”

That and other examples got us wondering: how many times has Texas fought battles like these with previous administrations? How far back do these battles go? And what does Texas typically get out of them?

To walk us through the history and the politics, we talk with Dr. Jon Taylor, professor and chair of the political science department at University of St. Thomas.

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