WASHINGTON (AP) – These are busy days for Republican attorneys general, repeatedly filing lawsuits alleging President Joe Biden and his administration have exceeded their authority over immigration, climate change, the environment and taxes.
The strategy harks back to what the Democrats did during Trump’s presidency when they went to court in New York, California, Maryland and other states where they would likely receive a warm welcome. Even before that, Republicans were frequent filers in Barack Obama’s White House years.
“This is something Republicans took from the Democratic game book, just as the Democrats took many things from the Republican game book during Trump’s tenure,” said Sally Katzen, New York University law professor who serves at the Clinton White House was.
The legal action reflects the GOP’s opposition to Biden initiatives, but also offers attorneys general, many of whom have higher political ambitions, to demonstrate their willingness to stand up to Biden and unflinchingly side Trump.
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, who is seeking the Republican Senate nomination in 2022, brags in a television ad that he is “on the conservative front to stop the worst abuses of the Biden administration.”
The main objective of the lawsuits filed so far have been orders issued by Biden.
However, several states have also sued a $ 1.9 trillion provision of the COVID-19 rescue plan that bans states from using their share of federal funds to cut taxes.
Chris Carr, the Georgia attorney general and the new chairman of the Republican Attorneys General Association, said he and his colleagues were cast in that role because the Democrats control both the Houses of Congress and the White House.
“We have a situation where President Biden says, ‘Look, I want to be more bipartisan.’ But then he turns around and has more executive orders at the start of a term than any other president in modern history, ”said Carr.
“Our job is to ensure that the rule of law is upheld. It’s a natural tension we’ve seen throughout American history. How does the federal government stay on their track? ” he said.
It was only two days after Biden’s inauguration that the first legal battle broke out.
Following the president’s announcement of a 100-day deportation hiatus, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Trump’s loss to Biden in a crucial number of swing states, drawing the support of 17 others Attorneys-General Claimed and 106 Republican Members of Congress – went to court and won a court order against the hold.
Several other states have since followed suit with similar claims.
Only since mid-March:
• Texas, Montana and 19 other states have filed lawsuits in Texas to overturn Biden’s cancellation of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada.
• Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry sued 13 states to end suspension of new federal land and water leases and canceled lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico, Alaska Waters, and the western states to move.
• Missouri sued restricting state tax cuts as a condition of receiving funds from huge COVID-19 bill.
See: Atty. General Ken Paxton battles the Texas news media on January 6th to keep a record of the Capitol siege
Likewise: Twitter is suing the Texas Attorney General, seeking retaliation for its Trump ban
In early March, Schmitt cited 12 states in a lawsuit alleging that the administration was not empowered to take into account the social costs of climate change. The president said Jan. 20 that federal agencies need to consider damage caused by increased greenhouse gas emissions, including changes in agricultural productivity, human health and property damage due to increased risk of flooding.
In at least two cases, the Republicans are trying to get the Supreme Court to maintain the Trump guidelines, which Biden reviewed or overturned.
Paxton seeks to get the judges to reintroduce the Trump-era immigration rule, which denies green cards to immigrants who use public services like food stamps. A federal court blocked politics nationwide and the Biden government suspended the defense.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost is leading a 19-state action to prevent the court from dismissing a case over Trump policies banning family planning programs that receive federal funds from women’s referrals for abortions.
The administration and medical groups that challenged the policy agreed to dismiss the case as the Department of Health and Human Services is about to propose a new rule lifting the ban on referral of abortions.
Paxton’s predecessor was Greg Abbott, now the governor of Texas. Abbott polished his conservative credentials by going to court frequently over Obama initiatives. “I go to the office, sue the federal government and go home,” he said in 2013, boasting of having sued the administration 25 times.
By mid-2016, the Wall Street Journal had counted Texas going to court against the Obama administration at least 44 times.
The only thing that has changed since the last Democratic administration is that Trump was able to move appeals courts across the country to the right, adding six judges each to appeals courts that hear cases from Ohio and Texas, and four to the court, too which Missouri also belongs to. All three were already leaning conservatively.
Even the notoriously liberal San Francisco 9th Court of Appeals, which hears appeals from Montana, has gotten more balanced in the past four years with the addition of 10 Trump candidates.
“Republican attorneys general could take particular comfort in the fact that significant numbers of Conservative judges were sustained during the Trump administration, and there are a number of appeals courts where the balance has been upset. So it’s an even better shot than before, ”said Katzen.