Sixteen states are suing the Trump administration over the president’s decision to declare a national emergency to divert funding from other critical projects for his proposed border wall.
Sixteen states, including California, New York, and Michigan filed one of several lawsuits the administration is facing over last week’s announcement. The ACLU and other groups have said they will also pursue legal action against the administration, Vox reported.
The states’ lawsuit argues that Trump is subverting Congress’ Constitutional power over federal funding in a move that will hurt individual states.
“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,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra told CNN on Monday.
Trump is reportedly planning to redirect money for disaster relief in California and Puerto Rico, military construction around the country, and a counternarcotics program toward his proposed wall after Congress repeatedly declined to fund the pet project for more than two years.
“The separation of powers is being violated, we’re going to go out there and make sure that Donald Trump cannot steal money from the states and people who need them, since we paid the taxpayer dollars to Washington, D.C. to get those services,” Becerra told MSNBC.
Democrats could overturn emergency -- but they need GOP’s help:
Democrats in the House could also force a vote on overturning Trump’s decision, but they would need Republicans in the Senate, some of whom have spoken out against the declaration, to join them.
“As established by the National Emergencies Act, Congress has the ability to terminate the declaration if both chambers decide to do so via a simple majority,” Vox reported. “Because Trump is expected to veto a resolution like this if it passes, Democrats would need a number of Republicans to join them to make up a two-thirds veto-proof majority in the House and the Senate. Given Republicans’ aversion to explicitly confronting Trump, it’s unlikely they’ll be able to reach that threshold.”
Trump faces fight from Texas landowners too:
If Trump is able to overcome the many legal challenges to his declaration, he would face another fight with Texas landowners over eminent domain.
"What we're doing with eminent domain is, in many cases, we'll make a deal up front. We've already done that. The secretary has done a lot of that," Trump told reporters in January, citing no evidence. "And if we can't make a deal, we take the land and we pay them through a court process. Which goes actually fairly quickly. And we're generous. But we take the land. Otherwise you could never build anything. If you didn't use eminent domain, you wouldn't have one highway in this country. You have to use eminent domain."
But Republican Texas Rep. Will Hurd warned that the move could impact over 1,000 farmers and ranchers in Texas.
"In the great state of Texas, we care about a little thing called private property, and there's going to be over 1,000 ranchers and farmers potentially impacted if the government comes in and takes their land," Hurd said. "[Government officials] say, 'Hey, we need this land. Here's what we're going to give you.' And they get to automatically take it. And then the rancher or the landowner has to go in and fight in court.”