Three cities sued the Trump administration to block its attempt to label them “anarchist jurisdictions” and cut off federal funds, The Associated Press reports.
President Donald Trump issued an executive memorandum last month calling on the Justice Department to identify cities that allow “anarchy, violence and destruction in American cities” after months of Black Lives Matter protests.
The DOJ last month identified New York, Portland, and Seattle as three cities that could have federal funds withheld.
The DOJ said the cities were designated as “anarchist jurisdictions” because they met criteria including “whether a jurisdiction forbids the police force from intervening to restore order amid widespread or sustained violence or destruction” and whether the city “disempowers or defunds police departments.”
All three cities sued the administration over the effort.
“The Trump administration’s political threats against Seattle and other Democratic cities are unlawful and an abuse of federal power," Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said in a statement. "It’s immoral, unconstitutional, and shameful that we are forced to expend any resources on this political theater.”
“I said weeks ago if the Trump administration persisted in trying to illegally take away funding from New York City we would take them to court, and we will beat them in court,” added New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Billions at stake:
The lawsuit argues that only Congress can add conditions to money that has already been allocated. The suit argues the label was arbitrary and violates due process rights and the Constitution.
New York City Corporation Counsel Jim Johnson said up to $12 billion in federal funds for health, transportation, and law enforcement could be at stake.
“It is the Defendants, not the Cities, who are engaging in lawless behavior and threatening the democratic order established by the Framers,” the suit said.