Boing Boing

Texas Governor Greg Abbott declares that Texas law supercedes Federal authority and hints at secession

Greg Abbott in 2022. Photo credit: lev radin / Shutterstock

Texas Governor Greg Abbott posted an open letter on Wednesday alleging that Biden and the Federal government have violated the Constitution by failing to protect the states from the "invasion" of immigrants.

He is responding to a Supreme Court ruling that held that Federal agents must be permitted to remove razor wire that Texas had rolled out on Rio Grande to stop migrants. In defiance of that ruling, Texas National Guard and state troopers are still setting up more razor wire.

He claims that Texas's authority to defend and protect itself against migration is the "supreme law of the land" and "supersedes and federal statutes."

The failure of the Biden Administration to fulfill the duties imposed by Article IV, § 4 has triggered Article I, § 10, Clause 3, which reserves to this State the right of self-defense. For these reasons, I have already declared an invasion under Article I, § 10, Clause 3 to invoke Texas's constitutional authority to defend and protect itself. That authority is the supreme law of the land and supersedes any federal statutes to the contrary. The Texas National Guard, the Texas Department of Public Safety, and other Texas personnel are acting on that authority, as well as state law, to secure the Texas border.

It's been pointed out on social media that the seceding states of the Civil War used similar language and justifications:

An article by David Badash on (link here) gathers the reactions of some Constitutional scholars and experts.

Some experts are warning Abbott's defiance and refusal to obey the Supreme Court and the Constitution could spark a second U.S. Civil War.

Professor of Law Eric Segall, who teaches about the federal courts and constitutional law and is the author of books on originalism and the U.S. Supreme Court, wrote: "Wow, I predicted Texas might not comply. Is this bluffing or is Texas going to start Civil War II."

Professor of law and political scientist Anthony Michael Kreis first mocked Abbott, then took a deep dive into his statement.

Calling Abbott's statement "sincerely bat shit crazy," Kreis asked, "Did John Calhoun write this?" He was referring to the 19th century U.S. vice president who was a defender of slavery and supporter of nullification, the alleged "right" of a state to "nullify" a federal law it claims is unconstitutional.

"By this logic," wrote University of Texas School of Law professor of law Steve Vladeck, referring to Abbott's statement, "states could use their own determination that an 'invasion' exists as a justification for usurping control of whichever federal policies they don't like. Whatever you think about current immigration policy, this is just a 21st-century re-packaging of nullification."

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