Gov. Greg Abbott was arrested and taken into custody this morning by federal agents in Garland, Texas, shortly before he was to address a group of fifth graders.Abbott was charged with filing excessive frivolous lawsuits during his tenure as Attorney General, according to Angela Fladina, a spokeswoman for the FBI’s Dallas office. In his eight years as attorney general, Abbott sued the federal government 31 times.
The Supreme Court established a limit of 30 suits per attorney general in a 1953 ruling.
Few were aware of the limit on the number of federal lawsuits that can be filed by an individual attorney general. It is based on an obscure line inserted into federal code by Alexander Hamilton while feuding with James Madison over the extent of federal power. Most people are unaware of it, since this particular dispute is not covered in the smash Broadway musical Hamilton.
Governor Abbott told reporters gathered at the U.S. District Court in downtown Dallas,
This morning, I personally experienced the overreach of the federal government into the lives of everyday Texans. I have been in contact with General Paxton in regard to this matter, and he agrees with me: all Texans have the right to sue the federal government, no matter how frequently they file suit. Tomorrow morning, the state of Texas will file to defend my right to sue the federal government a 32nd time.
Not all politically conservative Texans share the governor’s commitment to suing the federal government. A newly formed political action committee called the North-Northeast Tarrant County Tea Party released a statement following the governor’s arrest, declaring its intention to sue Texas for “all the money the state has wasted on these lawsuits, at least the 10 he lost.” They want every Texan to be reimbursed for the cost, which amounts to $2.16 per person. However, the NNETCTP would direct the state to deny payment to LGBTQ Texans, immigrants, low income women seeking reproductive healthcare and House Speaker Joe Straus.
The governor was processed quickly and is expected to make it in time for dessert at the Texas Historic Ranching Reenactment Society’s annual Freedom Isn’t Free luncheon in McKinney.
This post was published on April 1. 2016 as part of BOR’s annual observation of April Fools Day. Posts published on this date are satirical and in no way report actual events (except for how closely they resemble actual events).