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Texas Re-Fights The Civil War


Federal District Judge David Ezra ruled last week that Texas and Governor Greg Abbott had likely committed an illegal act when they installed a system of buoys in a part of Rio Grande River. A federal statute expressly forbids “creation of any obstruction . . . to the navigable capacity of any of the waters of the United States” unless specifically authorized by Congress or the Secretary of the Army. The United States, who brought the suit, proved that they would succeed in their case because Texas did not have any authorization. Thus, Judge Ezra’s carefully reasoned opinion ordered Texas to remove the floating barrier system by September 15.
Texas, unbowed, sought an immediate stay of the order at the U.S. Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit. The court promptly granted it. On Friday, the court of appeals issued an administrative stop.
As a technical matter, such an order does not necessarily reveal the appeals court’s view of the merits. This order merely maintains the status-quo until the parties submit their briefs and while the court reviews the case. This seems reasonable; if Texas is successful in its appeal it will…

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