In 2017, California passed a controversial law banning state-funded travel to a dozen states over what it considered discriminatory policies.
Texas, which was one of the states included in the ban, filed a lawsuit challenging that law, but the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear the case.
“Protects the religious freedom”
California implemented the ban in response to policies deemed discriminatory against the LGBTQ community, including bathroom restrictions for transgender individuals.
In the case of Texas, however, California took issue with a law allowing foster care and adoption agencies to refuse the placement of children with gay couples for religious reasons.
A suit filed in response argued that California was involved in an effort to establish a perceived “legacy of ‘forward thinking'” and that the Texas law “protects the religious freedom of faith-based child welfare providers within its borders.”
Further dismissing the merits of the California ban, the suit filed by Texas claimed: “It is not forward thinking to revive the economic Balkanization that our Constitution is designed to stamp out.”
Other states, including Connecticut, Minnesota, New York, Vermont, and Washington, have approved similar bans for state-funded travel to states with supposedly discriminatory laws.
“Unambiguously speaks out”
Critics say such bans represent attempts to force one state’s views and laws onto others and run contrary to the Constitution’s provision that states have the power to govern themselves.
Of course, the Biden administration appears to support the decisions of California and other Democratic-controlled states. Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra, who was California’s attorney general last year when Idaho was added to the travel ban, declared that his state “unambiguously speaks out” against efforts by other states to “legislate discrimination.”
It seems that the nation’s highest court agrees. In its decision refusing to allow the Texas suit to proceed, justices did not offer an explanation.
Conservative Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas wrote a lengthy dissent, acknowledging that the court had followed a longstanding precedent for refusing such cases but opining that the precedent had not been established on any legitimate basis.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed his own brief with the court in February 2020, asking for the California travel ban to be struck down. That motion was joined by 19 other states and is still pending before the court.