Newly released numbers from the California attorney general’s office reveal that the state has spent $43 million suing the Trump Administration in the last four years, but Attorney General Xavier Becerra says the lawsuits have actually saved the state billions in funding it would have lost had the White House been allowed to carry out its full wish list of policies.
“Every single case is based on Donald Trump and his administration doing something against the law,” Becerra told the Sacramento Bee. “We didn’t wake up in the morning and say, ‘Wouldn’t it be fun to sue Donald Trump again?’”
The cases have so far stymied Trump’s attempts to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, end the Obama administration’s DACA protections for child immigrants, weaken climate change rules, and put California car emissions standards under federal authority.
The state’s aggressive litigation has also halted Trump’s dream of building a wall on the Mexican border, abolishing the Affordable Care Act, and led to a Supreme Court decision that California law enforcement could not be compelled to assist federal authorities in arresting and transferring immigrants.
California has filed or joined more than 90 lawsuits against the Trump administration, with legal costs rising from $3.7 million in the budget year ending in June 2017, to $11.3 million in 2018, $12 million in 2019, and $16 million this year.
While no one in the Trump White House commented for the Sac Bee article, a Justice Department official pointed out a Wall Street Journal op-ed in which U.S. Attorney General William Barr claimed the administration was being treated unfairly.
“Shrewd lawyers have learned to ‘shop’ for a sympathetic judge willing to issue such an injunction,” Barr wrote. “These days, virtually every significant congressional or presidential initiative is enjoined—often within hours—threatening our democratic system and undermining the rule of law.”
Some legal experts, like Berkeley Law dean Erwin Chemerinsky, say Trump has only himself and his enablers to blame.
“Obama pushed executive power, like DACA, but it’s nothing compared to what the Trump administration has done in pushing the boundaries of the law,” Chemerinsky told the Bee. “Like rescinding DACA, or funding the border wall after Congress refused, or arguing the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional. This is one of the most radical administrations in memory.”
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