President Trump warned it was coming.
After declaring a state of emergency over the US southern border last week, Trump predicted that legal action was imminent and, on Monday, a group of 16 left-leaning states filed a lawsuit against the White House to prevent the declaration seeking funding for the border wall.
The lawsuit, filed in the Ninth Circuit court by the coalition of states led by California, claimed the president has “veered the country toward a constitutional crisis of his own making,” and has shown a “flagrant disregard of fundamental separation of powers principles ingrained in the United States Constitution” in violation of the Constitution’s Presentment and Appropriations Clauses.
Seeking an injunction to prevent Trump’s plan of re-allocating military construction funding to construction of the border wall, as well as declaring the plan illegal and a violation of the National Environmental Policy Act because of its impact on the environmental without prior studies, the litigation filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California could end up in the US Supreme Court.
“Today, on Presidents Day, we take President Trump to court to block his misuse of presidential power,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement on Monday, according to Reuters. “We’re suing President Trump to stop him from unilaterally robbing taxpayer funds lawfully set aside by Congress for the people of our states. For most of us, the office of the presidency is not a place for theater.”
#BREAKING: We’re suing President Trump to stop him from unilaterally robbing taxpayer funds lawfully set aside by Congress for the people of our states. For most of us, the Office of the Presidency is not a place for theatre. pic.twitter.com/890Mud5OQX
— Xavier Becerra (@AGBecerra) February 19, 2019
California was joined by other states including Colorado, New York, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Oregon, Virginia, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico and Michigan. All but one of the states have Democratic governors
“California is aggrieved by the actions of Defendants and has standing to bring this action because of the injury due to the loss of federal drug interdiction, counter-narcotic, and law enforcement funding to the State caused by Defendants’ diversion of funding,” a section of the filing read.
“Maine is aggrieved by the actions of Defendants and has standing to bring this action because of the injury to the State and its residents caused by Defendants’ reduction of federal defense spending in Maine due to diversion of funding to the border wall,” another paragraph noted.
The emergency order would give Trump about $6.7 billion in addition to the nearly $1.4 billion allocated in the budget deal that Congress passed in order to avoid a second government shutdown, Reuters reported.
“President Trump treats the rule of law with utter contempt,” Becerra said Monday, Fox News reported. “He knows there is no border crisis, he knows his emergency declaration is unwarranted, and he admits that he will likely lose this case in court.”
New York Attorney General Letitia James slammed the emergency declaration as an “abuse of power.”
BREAKING: We’ve joined 15 AGs in filing a lawsuit challenging President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency & his attempt to divert funding appropriated by Congress for other purposes.
Declaring a National Emergency when one does not exist is immoral and illegal.
— NY AG James (@NewYorkStateAG) February 19, 2019
“Declaring a National Emergency when one does not exist is immoral and illegal,” James said in a statement. “Diverting necessary funds from real emergencies, crime-fighting activities, and military construction projects usurps Congressional power and will hurt Americans across the country. We will not stand for this abuse of power and will fight using every tool at our disposal.”
People who can declare national emergencies: Presidents. https://t.co/JGVFkluzDm
— Katie Pavlich (@KatiePavlich) February 18, 2019
Speaking from the White House Rose Garden last Friday, Trump noted that a national emergency has “been signed many times before, by many presidents. It’s rarely been a problem … nobody cared.”
Dozens of active national emergencies declared by Trump’s predecessors are still active and 12 of them were issued by former President Obama alone. Trump foresaw the incoming legal actions and noted them in his remarks.
Trump: “I’ll sign the final papers…and we will have a national emergency, and we will then be sued, and they will sue us in the 9th Circuit…and then we’ll end up in the Supreme Court… and we’ll win in the Supreme Court just like the (travel) ban.” pic.twitter.com/0CGZ3Zwp7M
— Axios (@axios) February 15, 2019
“We will possibly get a bad ruling, and then we’ll get another bad ruling and then we’ll end up in the Supreme Court,” he told reporters, adding that he hoped to “get a fair shake and we’ll win in the Supreme Court, just like the [travel] ban.”
An environmental group and some Texas landowners were the first lawsuit to challenge the national emergency declaration within hours of Trump’s announcement.
Senior White House adviser Stephen Miller sparred with Fox News’ Chris Wallace on the constitutionality of the president’s emergency declaration during an interview on “Fox News Sunday.”
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) February 17, 2019
“The statute, Chris, is clear on its own terms,” Miller said. “Congress has appropriated money for construction of border barriers consistently. This is part of the national security.”
In another heated interview, Wallace confronted conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh on Trump’s right to declare a national emergency and take “money that Congress refused to give him.”
“We have an emergency. This is an invasion. The very existence and definition of American culture, American society, the rule of law,” Limbaugh fired back. “We can’t have the breakdown of rule of law, and law and order this way. That alone would suggest that this has gone on way too long and we need to stop it.”
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