Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro (WikiMedia Commons)
Attorneys general in 15 states, led by California, have filed a federal lawsuit seeking to block President Donald Trump’s effort to build a wall at America’s southern border with Mexico, even though Congress had not authorized the money for it.
But not, surprisingly, Pennsylvania, where Democratic Attorney General Josh Shapiro hasn’t been shy about picking legal fights with the Trump White House. More on that in a minute.
First, the facts.
The Washington Post reports:
“The lawsuit, brought by states with Democratic governors except for one — Maryland — seeks a preliminary injunction that would prevent the president from acting on his emergency declaration while the case plays out in the courts.
“The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California — a San Francisco-based court whose judges have ruled against an array of other Trump administration policies, including on immigration and the environment.
“Accusing the president of “an unconstitutional and unlawful scheme,” the suit says the states are trying “to protect their residents, natural resources, and economic interests from President Donald J. Trump’s flagrant disregard of fundamental separation of powers principles engrained in the United States Constitution.”
The states in the lawsuit include, in addition to California: Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, and Virginia. With the exception of Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, the governors of those states are Democrats, The Post reported.
In a statement, Shapiro said he was “deeply concerned” by Trump’s “fictional emergency,” and that he would he “not hesitate to take legal action if our Commonwealth loses out on any money we have been allocated by Congress.”
The statement appears to indicate that Pennsylvania has not yet been harmed by the White House’s congressional end-run, but holds open the possibility that could change:
“Congress has allocated tens of millions of dollars to our Commonwealth that could be diverted for this fictional emergency—but the federal government has not yet provided clear guidance on their funding sources,” Shapiro said. “As we learn more, I will continue to work with the Wolf administration and our Congressional delegation to prevent harm to Pennsylvania.”
My job as AG is to uphold the rule of law & I will not hesitate to take legal action if our Commonwealth loses out on any money we have been allocated by Congress.
As we learn more, I’ll continue to work w/ @GovernorTomWolf + our Congressional delegation to prevent harm to PA.
— AG Josh Shapiro (@PAAttorneyGen) February 19, 2019
The full text of Shapiro’s statement:
“I am deeply concerned about the legality of President Trump’s national emergency declaration and its impact on Pennsylvania. Congress has allocated tens of millions of dollars to our Commonwealth that could be diverted for this fictional emergency—but the federal government has not yet provided clear guidance on their funding sources. As we learn more, I will continue to work with the Wolf administration and our Congressional delegation to prevent harm to Pennsylvania.”
“Congress and the President must act to fix our broken immigration system, but I will not allow essential funding for Pennsylvania to be held hostage in the process. By the President’s own admission, this declaration is not necessary—and it’s Congress’ job to determine its validity. My job as Attorney General is to uphold the rule of law, and I will not hesitate to take legal action if our Commonwealth loses out on any money we have been allocated by Congress,” he said.
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