Sunday, August 18, 2019

16 states sue Trump over national emergency declaration

Sixteen states filed a lawsuit yesterday evening challenging President Trump’s national emergency declaration.

The group of states, led by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, filed the lawsuit in the US District Court for the Northern District of California. “We’re going to try to halt the President from violating the Constitution, the separation of powers, from stealing money from Americans and states that has been allocated by Congress, lawfully,” Becerra told CNN’s Kate Bolduan Monday.

The attorneys general from Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Virginia joined California in the lawsuit. It’s the latest challenge to hit the Trump administration, which already faces a litany of lawsuits over the national emergency declaration.

Over the weekend, the Center for Biological Diversity, Border Network for Human Rights, which marched with Beto O’Rourke in El Paso, Texas, last week, and the American Civil Liberties Union all announced lawsuits. At the core of each lawsuit is the argument that Trump is circumventing Congress to fund the wall along the US-Mexico border by declaring an emergency.

“The Constitution assigns Congress the power of the purse, and no prior president has ever tried to use emergency powers to fund a chosen project — particularly a permanent, large-scale domestic project such as this — against congressional will. This is obviously improper,” said Dror Ladin, staff attorney with the ACLU’s National Security Project.

Becerra argued that the states have standing to challenge Trump because money appropriated to them might be at risk. “If the President is essentially stealing money that’s been allocated to go to the various states for various purposes but no longer will, we’re being harmed, our people are being harmed,” he said.

The National Emergencies Act allows the President to declare a national emergency and unlock a stash of funds by invoking certain statutory authority, however the President has wide discretion over what constitutes a national emergency. As a result, legal experts argue that fighting the declaration on the basis of the emergency itself will likely be difficult.

CNN