Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office strongly urged the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit today to demand consistency between the 5th Circuit’s prior foster care ruling from October 2018 and the U.S. District Court’s modified injunction from November 2018.
The state argues that the district court failed to strictly follow the 5th Circuit’s directive to modify the January 2018 permanent injunction to make it consistent with the 5th Circuit panel’s ruling. As explained by the state in its supplemental post-remand briefing and in today’s oral argument, the modified injunction includes new remedial provisions that were not authorized or contemplated by the panel ruling and effectively reinstates provisions that the panel ruling vacated. The district court’s failure to obey the 5th Circuit’s direction may create unnecessary administrative burdens for caseworkers, prohibit the efficient use of certain specialized caseworkers, and inhibit caseworkers’ ability to provide proper and necessary care to Texas children.
“In October, the 5th Circuit reversed several of the district court’s liability rulings and held that the district court’s sweeping permanent injunction far exceeded permissible limits,” Attorney General Paxton said. “In modifying the injunction, the district court has again overreached. The improper provisions ordered by an unelected federal judge are not only impractical, they are actually harmful to foster care caseworkers and the children they care for each day. I am confident that the 5th Circuit will agree.”
Several of the district court’s foster care remedies were invalidated by the 5th Circuit in its October 2018 panel decision partially affirming and partially reversing the permanent injunction. The state’s arguments today urged the 5th Circuit to require adherence to that prior ruling and to vacate or modify a number of unauthorized provisions in the modified injunction.