Ken Paxton suggests rival George P. Bush light on legal experience, vows new fight against Obamacare

'We can't have Congress telling people that they have to ... buy anything, including health insurance,' Paxton says about former President Barack Obama's signature health law.

Updated: June 17, 2021 - 8:43pm

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    Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton vowed Thursday to continue fighting Obamacare despite a defeat at the Supreme Court, while also launching a broadside against one of his primary rivals next year, George P. Bush.

    Bush, the current Texas land commissioner and grandson of President George H.W. Bush, is challenging Paxton in next year's attorney general primary. 

    Paxton suggested Bush is too light on legal experience to lead the attorney general's office, calling him a "guy that just renewed his law — just got his law license back in October. So this isn't a place for rookies, this is a place for somebody that has some experience, that knows what they're doing. And we don't necessarily want a guy that would be kind of a beginning associate at a law firm, come manage one of the most sophisticated operations as it relates to law in the country."

    Actually, Bush has held a law license in Texas since his graduation from law school in 2003, and most recently renewed the license last October, according to the Texas Bar's web site. He clerked for a federal judge and spent a few years at a law firm before moving into the investment and energy business and then politics.

    Both he and Paxton are high-profile supporters of former President Donald Trump, and their primary race is poised to be one of the most watched in the country.

    Bush's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday evening. 

    "Rookie? Please. The Attorney General’s office is no place for soon to be felons. Blowing this case makes you a loser," Bush tweeted.

    Following the Supreme Court striking down Texas' and other Republican-led states' case against Obamacare based on lack of standing, Paxton said, "It's kind of shocking to me that they ruled that we didn't have standing. We had, the states had a case several years ago that seemed like it was going to be successful. And of course, that's when John Roberts sided with four liberals and said ... that the penalty associated with the individual mandate made it a tax. Well, the tax was eliminated and so we thought we had basically the same lawsuit, except now we had his basis gone."

    "And now suddenly, we don't have standing. It doesn't make any sense to me, but that's what they ruled. So we'll be looking for other avenues to deal with this because, in the end, we can't have Congress telling people that they have to ... buy anything, including health insurance."

    Paxton said that he will continue the fight against Obamacare, saying "we're going to come at it a different direction, I think. But I'm still disappointed that they found a standing when it seemed like we had a very similar case years ago, and they got to the merits of the case on a 5-4 decision."

    "And the lower courts — the federal district court and the Fifth Circuit — didn't have trouble with standing. And we've seen — it seems like there's other cases the states have filed against Trump that had lesser connections, and yet they still found standing."

    He also discussed Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's decision to continue building the border wall.

    "We're gonna definitely be defending the state of Texas as they move forward in building this wall, because I'm sure that there'll be certain groups and maybe the administration itself, that tries to stop us. And we're continuing to look at the border and angles and ways that we can fight back."

    Paxton explained their legal strategy, saying, "we're also really looking for a case that we can take back up to overturn the U.S. v. Arizona decision that was made by Justice Kennedy and Justice Roberts, many years ago, where basically, Arizona tried to protect themselves by passing laws because the federal government wouldn't protect them. And these judges — Supreme Court — came in and said, 'No, you can't do that.'"

    "Well, the consequences of that are devastating to border states and really devastating to the country, because that means that when bad things are happening, when criminal activities are happening by the cartels, the states are supposedly just supposed to take it. That cannot be right. If the federal government passes laws and then does not enforce those laws, then we ought to be able to go in and protect our citizens — it doesn't make sense. And eventually we will protect our citizens because we have to."