Update: On January 27, 2021, a federal judge in Texas granted Paxton’s request for a temporary restraining order to block President Biden’s 100-day moratorium on deportations. I would anticipate this won’t be the end of the suit, and (having read the 18-page opinion of the federal court in the case) still fail to see a valid legal claim by Paxton. While my own analysis is by no means authoritative, I expect the suit not to survive much longer. In the interim, however, the restraining order does prevent President Biden’s moratorium from going into effect, pending appeal.

This is starting to seem like a pattern…

Once again, the perennially troubled (and currently under investigation by the FBI) Texas AG, Ken Paxton, has filed a baseless lawsuit.

This time, he is suing the Biden Administration over the Administration’s 100-day moratorium on deportations. Mr. Paxton claims in his letter to the current Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, David Pekoske, that this moratorium violates an agreement signed with former President Trump’s administration permitting all changes to immigration law be, in effect, run past the State first before taking effect.

The problems with Mr. Paxton’s lawsuit are again myriad, and demonstrate a failure to understand even the most basic concepts about how the law and government work.  

For starters, Mr. Paxton appears to be ignorant of the separation of powers with respect to immigration law. The federal government has exclusive (and very broad) power over immigration law, including the ability to make law preempting (overruling, in effect) state law that attempts to enact such power. So, whatever Texas (or any other state) might think about immigration, the federal government makes the rules as far as immigration goes.

Additionally, Mr. Paxton appears to not understand (even remotely, it seems) the idea that the Current President has the ability, via executive order, to change, remove, or to otherwise alter the executive order(s) of the Former President. (Surely he is familiar with this concept, having urged former President Trump to overturn former President Obama’s 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.)  

One can only speculate about how much Mr. Paxton’s lawsuits are costing Texas taxpayers, as his office has yet to release the figures (though I would guess millions is a conservative estimate.)

There is not a problem with filing lawsuits to challenge laws one believes are unconstitutional or the like, when there is a sound legal argument. To launch such a challenge without a sound legal argument is burn money.