16 States File Lawsuit on Trump


Katie Konen, Entertainment Editor

A group of 16 states, including California and New York, on Monday challenged President Trump in court over his plan to use emergency powers to spend billions of dollars to spend money on his border wall.

The lawsuit is part of a constitutional confrontation that Mr. Trump set off on Friday while declaring he would spend billions of dollars more on border barriers than congress had granted him.  That left many questioning congressional control of spending, the scope of emergency powers given to the president, and how far the courts are willing to go in order to make amends with this dispute.

The suit, filed in Federal District Court in San Francisco, argues that the President does not have enough power to diverts funds for building a wall along the Mexican border because it is Congress that does all the spending.

Xavier Becerra, the attorney general of California, said in an interview that Trump himself had undercut his argument that there was an emergency on the border.

“Probably the best evidence is the President’s own words” he said referring to President Trump’s speech on February 15 announcing his plan, “I didn’t need to do this, but I’d rather do it much faster.

The lawsuit, California et al. v. Trump et al., says the plaintifull states are going to court in order to protect their natural resources, residents, and economic interests. “Contrary to the will of Congress, the president has used the pretext of a manufactured ‘crisis’ of unlawful immigration to declare a national emergency and redirect federal dollars appropriated for drug interdiction, military construction and law enforcement initiatives toward building a wall on the United States-Mexico border,” the lawsuit states.

Congress will be on its own track to challenge the President’s declaration. The House of Representatives, now controlled by democrats, make a two-prong approach when it returns from a recess.

Joining California and New York are Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Minnesota, Michigan, Maryland, New Jersey, Nevada, New Mexico, Virginia, and Oregon. Every state has a democratic governor except Maryland whose general is a Democrat.

As the debate over Mr. Trump’s actions lead into courtrooms, legal experts warn that its fate may turn less on such high constitutional principle and more on complex legal issues.

“Even though Trump’s political maneuver to get around an uncooperative Congress looks like it stretches the Constitution, the questions presented in court will raise ordinary and complicated issues of administrative law,” said Peter M. Shane, an Ohio State University law professor and co-author of a separation-of-powers casebook.

A couple lawsuits had already been filed after Mr. Trump’s speech on February 15. One was by the nonprofit watchdog group Public Citizen, which represents several Texas landowners and a Texas environmental group.  The second case was by the Center for Biological Diversity, which are the Defenders of Wildlife and the Animal Legal Defense Fund.

At least two other lawsuits are expected to be filed later this week.