By Ross Ramsey\r\nTexas is warring with cities, counties, and school districts over local COVID-19 responses that go above and beyond what the state wants. That\u2019s a template for state-local fights in other states, like Florida, and the legal grappling is already pending before the Texas Supreme Court.\r\nWhen they\u2019re not warring with local officials, the state\u2019s governor and attorney general have been lobbing legal rocks at the Biden administration over masks and migrants. Some of that might end up in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.\r\nOur Legislature has been beached for more than a month, ever since Democrats in the Texas House took off for Washington, D.C., to prevent approval of a Republican \u201celection integrity\u201d bill they say would make voting more difficult for Texans who support Democrats. Once there, they tried and failed to coax Congress, where there is a Democratic majority, to pass voting legislation that would preempt what Republicans in Texas and other states are doing.\r\nIf you\u2019re following national politics and policy, Texas is front and center.\r\nTexas leads\u00a0the coronavirus news, with\u00a0hospitalizations near peak levels. Gov. Greg Abbott\u00a0tested positive\u00a0for COVID-19 this week. The latest surge\u00a0could top previous waves\u00a0of the pandemic in what one doctor called \u201cthe fourth round of what should have been a three-round fight,\u201d as reported by The Texas Tribune\u2019s Karen Brooks Harper and Carla Astudillo.\r\nAbbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton are\u00a0battling school districts and local governments\u00a0for ignoring the state\u2019s ban on mask mandates and for requiring vaccine proof for admittance to some public spaces.\r\nWillie Nelson is the latest warrior on that front,\u00a0requiring proof of a vaccine\u00a0or a current negative coronavirus test to get into his Outlaw Music Festival in Austin on Sunday. The governor has said businesses with state licenses or state money can\u2019t use vaccines as the basis for admission; Nelson, like some others, is putting that to the test.\r\nWho wants to get into a fight with Willie Nelson?\r\nThe Biden administration has suggested\u00a0federal funding for education could be threatened\u00a0by bans on school mask mandates, which would amount to taking sides with districts that want to require masks.\r\nIt wouldn\u2019t be the first lawsuit. The\u00a0administration was already suing the state\u00a0for directing state police to stop vehicles carrying migrants suspected of having COVID-19. Abbott and other state officials have accused the federal government of\u00a0abandoning enforcement of immigration laws\u00a0and contributing to a huge increase in migration across the state\u2019s border with Mexico that started early this year, and the migrant roundup order was part of\u00a0a larger state effort\u00a0to intervene.\r\nThe\u00a0voting legislation\u00a0will certainly be the subject of litigation, but the state Supremes have already said it\u2019s legal for the state to\u00a0apprehend those Democrats\u00a0to come back to the work they were elected to do.\r\n\u201cThe legal question before this Court concerns only whether the Texas Constitution gives the House of Representatives the authority to physically compel the attendance of absent members,\u201d\u00a0the court ruled. \u201cWe conclude that it does, and we, therefore, direct the district court to withdraw the TRO.\u201d\r\nThe law is clear enough. So is the possibility for political theater, if the end game has the state arresting Democratic legislators and hauling them to Austin to force a vote on legislation those Democrats contend is harmful to voters with disabilities and to people of color.\r\nThe Supremes spotted that, too \u2014 a sign that they\u2019re pretty good at politics themselves. \u201cThe question now before this Court is not whether it is a good idea for the Texas House of Representatives to arrest absent members to compel a quorum. Nor is the question whether the proposed voting legislation giving rise to this dispute is desirable,\u201d they wrote. \u201cThose are political questions far outside the scope of the judicial function.\u201d\r\nIt would certainly get national attention, but that\u2019s not unusual for Texas these days.\r\nThis story originally published by the Texas Tribune.