WASHINGTON — California and 15 other states — including Illinois — filed a lawsuit Monday against President Donald Trump’s emergency declaration to fund a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. On Friday this past week President Trump proclaimed the emergency.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra released a statement Monday saying the suit alleges the Trump administration’s action violates the Constitution. ”President Trump treats the rule of law with utter contempt,” Becerra said. “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.”
Joining California and Illinois in filing the lawsuit are the attorneys general of Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, and Virginia.
The National Emergencies Act allows the President to declare a national emergency and unlock a stash of funds by invoking certain statutory authority. The President has wide discretion over what constitutes a national emergency. As a result, legal experts argue that fighting the declaration on the basis of the emergency itself will likely be difficult. The other question is whether the statute Trump has invoked — which in this case, requires the use of the armed forces — can be used to fund the wall.
Under the declaration, the administration will tap $2.5 billion of military narcotics funding and $3.6 billion in military construction funding. Acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said he will start studying which projects to pull from and determine whether border barriers are necessary to support the use of the armed forces.
“Walls work 100 percent,” Trump said, echoing his rhetoric from the campaign trail. Back then, he claimed Mexico would pay for the wall.
Using a national emergency — the same step presidents took during the Iran hostage crisis in 1979 and after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks — to build a wall rankled some fellow Republicans and immediately drew criticism and threats of litigation.
Administration officials say the president intends to use emergency powers to divert money allotted for other things, including military construction projects, to build or update as much as 234 miles of border fences.
50. The State of Illinois is a sovereign state of the United States of America.
51. This action is being brought on behalf of the State by Attorney General Kwame Raoul, the State’s chief legal officer. See Ill. Const., Art. 5, § 15; 15 Ill. Comp. Stat. 205/4.
52. J. B. Pritzker is the governor of Illinois, and under Illinois law has the “supreme executive power” and the duty to ensure “the faithful execution of the laws.” Ill. Const., Art. V, § 8.
53. On information and belief, Illinois is aggrieved by the actions of Defendants and has standing to bring this action because of the injury due to the loss of federal funding to the State caused by Defendants’ diversion of funding. The loss of funding to conduct drug interdiction and counter-narcotics activity threatens the public safety of all Illinois residents.
54. On information and belief, Illinois is also aggrieved by the actions of Defendants and has standing to bring this action because of the injury due to the loss of federal funding resulting from the diversion of military construction projects from Illinois to the construction of a border wall on the nation’s southern border.
55. In filing this action, the Attorney General seeks to protect the residents and agencies of Illinois from harm caused by Defendants’ illegal conduct, prevent further harm, and seek redress for the injuries caused to Illinois by Defendants’ actions. Those injuries include harm to Illinois’s sovereign, quasi-sovereign, and proprietary interests.
You can read the full suit here.