Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton recently sued the Biden administration over immigration policies. It’s the first lawsuit from Texas, and it surely won’t be the last.
But Paxton won’t be alone. The Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Center for the American Future, where I am lead counsel, will also challenge unconstitutional federal government overreach through the courts.
Three areas may provide immediate cause to sue: unconstitutional COVID-19 mandates, the Biden administration’s repeal of important Trump health care reforms, and the new administration’s revival of border policies that caused a humanitarian crisis (a crisis that Trump had largely ended with the implementation of Migrant Protection Protocols).
Last month, President Joe Biden told the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to come up with new COVID-19 guidelines for employers; these “will require issuing science-based guidance to help keep workers safe from COVID-19 exposure, including with respect to mask-wearing…” This could result in a nationwide mask mandate for employers, following Biden’s mask mandates for federal property and for transportation such as planes, trains and buses. And since most of us are either employees or employers, the outcome would be a de facto federal mask mandate.
But such a mandate would be clearly unconstitutional, something Biden acknowledged last summer, when he said, “I don’t think constitutionally (the federal government) could, so I wouldn’t issue a mandate.”
TPPF would challenge a mandate, just as we are challenging the CDC rule issued in September against evictions during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the case we’ve filed, a Texas property owner is prevented from removing a non-paying renter.
Next, TPPF will oppose Biden’s likely repeal of Trump’s health care reforms. In 2018, Trump signed an executive order loosening the rules for short-term health plans. This allowed insurers to offer more flexible and more affordable plans. By restricting these again to conform to the Affordable Care Act, the new administration is taking away choices and agency from the 1 million Americans who purchase these plans today.
We’re also poised to defend the previous administration’s rules on health care price transparency. Hospitals are resisting these very basic steps toward making health care more affordable. We need the Biden administration to both preserve and enforce the rules, not cave to the special interests and lobbyists.
Finally, TPPF will keep a watchful eye on the southern U.S. border. Even as a new border crisis brews, the Biden administration is rolling back the very measures — such as “Remain in Mexico” — that helped quell the last crisis.
Our federal system was designed with effective checks and balances. When the executive and legislative branches stray from their lanes, it’s entirely appropriate for Americans to seek relief from the judicial branch.
Biden wants to make the rest of America look more like California. Texas — and the Texas Public Policy Foundation — will resist this. Instead, we will use the courts to help ensure that the Lone Star State — not the Golden State — is the model for a United States that is both more free and more prosperous.