Texas has sued the federal government 23 times since President Obama was first elected, and the legal skirmishes often boil down to one thing: regulation.
Political Science Professor Victoria Farrar-Myers at the University of Texas at Arlington says Texas’ Republican leadership often rebels against new rules and stricter enforcement.
“Given the kind of state we are in wanting to see less federal control and more state control, I think you are going to continue to see more tension over the next four years,” she predicts.
Texas’ biggest federal target has been the EPA which it has sued 15 times since Obama became President: for implementing stricter mercury and air pollution rules; for demanding Texas refineries and utilities follow national permitting standards; to overturn the Obama administration’s drilling moratorium after the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
Matthew Eshbaugh-Soha, a University of North Texas political science professor, says those lawsuits probably would have stopped under a President Romney.
“One of the most significant differences between an Obama administration and a Romney administration is the amount of regulation over fracking, over drilling, over regulating the environment, air quality control and so on,” said Eshbaugh-Soha.
“Those would have lessened significantly under Romney. I don’t think that’s good for the environment but I think a lot of Republicans in the State of Texas would have preferred that,” he said.
Texas has also sued over health care, most recently after the federal government promised to cut off funds if Texas follows through with plans to bar Planned Parenthood from the Women’s Health Program.
Professor Farrar-Myers expects additional conflicts because Obama’s federal health care plan will now move forward.
Texas has said it won’t go along with the plan’s expansion of Medicaid to more patients so the federal government will deny Texas millions of dollars.
“Not taking the funds given to us through the healthcare act puts a fiscal burden on the state. So I think that’s an issue that’s going to be played out at the state and the national level,” she said.
And who knows what other regulations will lead to Texas lawsuits. The day after Obama’s reelection Governor Rick Perry demanded the President stay out of “state decision-making,” a clear signal the battle continues.