Constitutional Law

16 states sue over Trump's emergency declaration, designed to divert money for border wall

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President Donald Trump. Shutterstock.

Sixteen states have filed a lawsuit challenging President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency to redirect funds for a border wall.

The states sued Monday in federal court in the Northern District of California based in San Francisco, report the New York Times, the Washington Post, Politico and the Wall Street Journal. Press releases are here and here.

The lawsuit claims Trump’s plan constitutes a “flagrant disregard of fundamental separation of powers principles engrained in the United States Constitution.” Trump is diverting funds that states would receive by redirecting funds for drug interdiction, military construction and law enforcement initiatives, the suit says.

The suit also alleges:

• Trump is acting “ultra vires” because he is exceeding the scope of his constitutional and statutory authority.

• Trump is violating the appropriations clause. It states: “No money shall be drawn from the Treasury but in consequence of appropriations made by law.”

• Trump is violating the National Environmental Policy Act, which requires that developments be evaluated for environmental impact.

The suit cites Trump’s remarks about his emergency declaration Friday in which he said, “I could do the wall over a longer period of time. I didn’t need to do this. But I’d rather do it much faster.”

“By the president’s own admission, an emergency declaration is not necessary,” the suit says.

The states that sued are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Virginia. The suit is California v. Trump.

Several nonprofits already have filed lawsuits, and more are planned.

Groups that challenged the declaration in suits filed Friday are Public Citizen and an environmental coalition made up of the Center for Biological Diversity, the Defenders of Wildlife and the Animal Legal Defense Fund. Taking a different tack, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics sued the Department of Justice on Friday for communications and legal opinions related to the declaration.

The American Civil Liberties Union and Protect Democracy also have announced plans to sue.

Democrats in Congress also are taking action. A planned resolution would repeal the national emergency. Trump has said he will veto such a resolution if it passes. The House Judiciary Committee also has said it is investigating.

Related articles: “Trump declares national emergency, will tap these funds for border wall” “Can Trump legally use emergency powers to build a border wall? Experts weigh in”

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