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Texas filed this case in mid-February 2023 challenging parts of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023–a $1.7 trillion appropriations bill passed by Congress and signed by President Biden in December 2022.  Texas claims to be injured by two unrelated provisions of the Act: (1) a $20 million allocation to DHS’s “Alternatives to Detention'' Program, which uses less expensive and more humane tools like GPS to monitor noncitizens who would otherwise be unnecessarily detained; and (2) the “Pregnant Workers Fairness Act,” which newly requires covered employers–defined to include states as employers–to provide certain accommodations for pregnant employees. Although Texas seeks only to block these two provisions, its legal claim is that the Act is invalid because the House of Representatives allegedly did not have a quorum when it passed the Act (some members voted by proxy, which Texas argues was invalid). 

On February 27, 2023, the Biden Administration filed a motion to transfer this case to the Austin Division of the Western District of Texas, claiming that is where it should have been filed.  As of the end of May, that motion remains pending.

On April 4, 2023, Texas filed a motion asking the Court to enjoin (block) the federal government from “taking any action to enforce” the Consolidated Appropriations Act (in its entirety). Briefing on that motion concluded in mid-May.

On May 4, 2023, the Biden Administration filed a motion to dismiss this case; briefing on that motion is ongoing.

Technical Summary

Texas’s only claim for relief is that the Act violates the Article I, Section 5, Clause 1 of the Constitution (the “Quorum Clause”). Texas seeks declaratory and injunctive relief.

The only significant difference between Texas’s original and amended complaints (which were filed on the same day) appears to be that the first one omitted as co-counsel the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a right-wing think tank based in Austin.​​​​​


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