February 05, 2013

When 'fiscal conservatives' aren't — that's you, Greg Abbott

The state of Texas getting slapped down in the latest school finance lawsuit (note "latest," there's a good timeline here of state school finance issues all the way back to "Edgewood" in the 1980s) reminds me that, when it comes to fiscal-related issues, most alleged fiscal conservatives are anything but.

Look at Greg Abbott, even more than Rick Perry. You've got the school finance lawsuit at the state level. You've got school prayer, religious displays, and other church-state issues that regularly go to suit at the federal level. And, every 10 years, if not more frequently, there's Voting Rights Act-related suits.

In short, Abbott wastes tens of millions of taxpayer dollars for things he knows will lose in court. As the state's attorney general, doesn't he have a legal obligation to tell Perry and the Legislature his estimation of the likelihood of success, or failure, in court, against eventual lawsuits? Of course he does? Ditto on his estimate of expected legal costs.

Update, Feb. 18, 2013: And now, the man who would be gov, tired of suing the feds over Obamacare, has moved on to Dodd-Frank.

Here's the waste of taxpayer dollars part:
Legal experts believe that much of the lawsuit is unlikely to have much standing in court. “Sure, Dodd-Frank is a mess; sure, the statute is unwieldy and inefficient; sure, the statute takes power away from citizens and states and transfers it to the federal government. However, it’s not unconstitutional or otherwise illegal for Congress to pass a bad law. And this is what Dodd-Frank is,” says Jonathan Macey, a professor at Yale Law School.

Kenneth Klee, a law professor at UCLA, points out that the states’ major argument in the lawsuit — that Dodd-Frank violates states’ rights under the new bankruptcy provision — doesn’t hold up. ”States don’t have rights on bankruptcy law — Congress could prescribe anything at any time. There’s no vested property interest there,” he explains.
Bingo. So, the state of Texas may not even have legal "standing," but Abbott sues away.

As for the "bad law" issue? Abbott's compadres on the GOP side of the US House and Senate didn't want a "good" law. (And a lot of Democrats didn't want a great one, either.) So, this is what we got.

As far as wasting taxpayer dollars? Considering that the suit was originally filed by, among others, "two conservative advocacy groups, the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the 60 Plus Association," Abbott doesn't care.

Got that, you teabaggers? Abbott doesn't care. He'll waste your money and mine all day long, as long as he doesn't waste ExxonMobil's or the Koch Bros.

Update, Sept. 5: Federal appeals court in San Antonio confirms Abbott wasted more money over Texas Senate redistricting.

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