A New Chapter In Greg Abbott’s Anti-Federalism Game Of Chicken In Texas

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AUSTIN, TEXAS - JUNE 08: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks at a news conference in the state Capitol on June 08, 2023 in Austin, Texas. Abbott and Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw joined bill autho... AUSTIN, TEXAS - JUNE 08: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks at a news conference in the state Capitol on June 08, 2023 in Austin, Texas. Abbott and Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw joined bill authors, sponsors, legislators and law enforcement members in the signing of bills aimed at enhancing southern border security. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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Earlier this year, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and other Texas Republicans responded to a Supreme Court ruling that allowed federal Border Patrol agents to cut through razor wire erected by state law enforcement at the border with vows to ignore the high court’s ruling. Abbott has been eager to make a big show of his efforts to usurp federal authority in the state.

Since then, Republican governors across the U.S. have vowed to support Abbott’s “Civil War” cosplay, and have in some cases pledged to send their state’s National Guard troops to the site of the tension — Eagle Pass, Texas. And Abbott has maintained his political and legal standoff with the federal government in the months since the ruling, as his state continues with the construction of a new “Military Department base camp” in Eagle Pass called “Forward Operating Base Eagle,” which is being designed to provide housing and recreational facilities for over 2,000 National Guard troops. But more relevantly, Abbott announced in February that the state also plans to construct new barriers at the border in Eagle Pass.

Ultimately, this standoff will almost certainly be decided by the Supreme Court. But while that situation simmers, Abbott and his attorney general are waging another war against federal authority. This one involves another familiar right-wing boogeyman: the LGBTQ community.

The Biden administration announced last week that it has refined rules for Title IX to include protections for the LGBTQ community, specifically transgender people. The new rules will go into effect in August and clarifies that discrimination or misconduct based on sex stereotypes, pregnancy, gender identity and sexual orientation qualify as sex discrimination and sex-based harassment. Right-wing media has had a field day with the revisions, using the rule change to push familiar talking points that demonize trans women and claim the Biden administration is rolling back women’s rights.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit Monday, claiming, among other things, that the rule will “force schools to permit biological males to use female restrooms and lockers” — just another example of the right’s cartoonish fixation on where people use the bathroom and what trans rights means for women’s sports.

Abbott expanded on his AG’s efforts Monday by calling on the Texas Education Agency to “ignore” the rule change. In a letter to President Biden, Abbott accused the President of exceeding his constitutional authority and said the revision “tramples” Abbott’s state law that bans trans women from participating in women’s sports — once again making a big show of asserting his belief that Texas law can and should supersede federal law.

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