Texas Governor Greg Abbott has made a career, calling, and vocation out of suing the federal government—“I go into the office, I sue the federal government,” he famously said, back when he was the state’s attorney general, but today he took it to a new and special place. Abbott released an entirely insane, wholly unworkable, but very ambitious plan to kneecap the major powers of the federal government.
Abbott has been hinting all week that he was up to something big in response to President Obama’s announced executive actions on gun control:
And today, he released it, a plan that makes no mention of the fact—and in fact would expressly dismantle—the Supremacy Clause of his beloved U.S. Constitution, which says federal law takes precedence over state law. Instead, how ‘bout this, Abbott suggested:
Governor Abbott offered the following constitutional amendments:
- Prohibit Congress from regulating activity that occurs wholly within one State.
- Require Congress to balance its budget.
- Prohibit administrative agencies—and the unelected bureaucrats that staff them—from creating federal law.
- Prohibit administrative agencies—and the unelected bureaucrats that staff them—from preempting state law.
- Allow a two-thirds majority of the States to override a U.S. Supreme Court decision.
- Require a seven-justice super-majority vote for U.S. Supreme Court decisions that invalidate a democratically enacted law.
- Restore the balance of power between the federal and state governments by limiting the former to the powers expressly delegated to it in the Constitution.
- Give state officials the power to sue in federal court when federal officials overstep their bounds.
- Allow a two-thirds majority of the States to override a federal law or regulation.
You’re reading that correctly: those are proposed changes to the U.S. Constitution, not the constitution of the state that Abbott was elected to govern. Abbott is calling for a “convention of states” to band together to make those changes. That’s not currently how the law works, but it’s an increasingly popular proposal among people who think the feds have too much power.
Among other things, this means Abbott is basically going into the “fighting the federal government” business full-time. He’s veering into Alex Jones, Glenn Beck, lone warrior against the forces of darkness territory. Or he’s a hero, as the press release from his office suggests:
“The increasingly frequent departures from Constitutional principles are destroying the Rule of Law foundation on which this country was built,” said Governor Abbott. “We are succumbing to the caprice of man that our Founders fought to escape. The cure to these problems will not come from Washington D.C. Instead, the states must lead the way. To do that I am adding another item to the agenda next session. I want legislation authorizing Texas to join other states in calling for a Convention of States to fix the cracks in our Constitution.”
Next up: throw a bunch of tea into a harbor, see how that does.
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Abbott in December. Photo via AP Images