California threatens lawsuit over Trump’s national emergency

Californian attorneys say they’re ready to challenge Trump’s national emergency declaration with a lawsuit.

Trump and border wall Source: Bloomberg

Attorney general Xavier Becerra told US reporters on Sunday that California is “Definitely and imminently” ready to sue the Trump administration in federal court, with other Democrat-controlled states expected to join the effort.

‘We are prepared, we knew something like this might happen. And with our sister state partners, we are ready to go,’ Becerra said.

Congress rejects national emergency

It comes after US president Donald Trump declared a national state of emergency to fund the $5.7 billion-dollar wall on the US-Mexico border. Congress immediately rejected his request for the funds.

Under a 1976 law, Trump’s emergency powers could allow him to redirect money appropriated by Congress to build the wall, but the Democrats have said they will not let that happen.

According to the White House, Trump will have access to an estimated $8 billion, after nearly $1.4 billion was allocated to border fencing under a spending measure approved by Congress. Trump's emergency declaration would give him an extra $6.7 billion for the wall.

Legal issues with Trump's declaration


Becerra said the emergency declaration was legally vulnerable. ‘It's become clear that this is not an emergency, not only because no one believes it is but because Donald Trump himself has said it's not,’ he said.

California and other states are expected to sue the Trump administration to block Trump’s move. Californian governor, Gavin Newsom is on board with Becerra, and both say they’re waiting to learn which federal programs will lose money to determine the impact each state could face.

Three Texas landowners have filed the first lawsuit against Trump's move on Friday, saying it violates the constitution and would infringe on their property rights.

Legal challenges could slow down Trump's efforts to build the wall but would likely end up at the US Supreme Court. Congress has never defined a national emergency in the National Emergencies Act of 1976, which has previously been invoked many times without a single successful legal challenge.

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