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16 U.S. States sue Trump over national emergency declaration

A total of 16 States in the United States (U.S.) have come together to file a lawsuit against the President of U.S. – Donald Trump’s declaration of national emergency, to fund his U.S. – Mexico border wall.

The 16 States, led by California, have filed a lawsuit in the United States (U.S.) District Court for the Northern District of California. The States opposing the emergency include Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Virginia.

The lawsuit has been filed after President declared a national emergency on February 15, 2019, in order to unlock billions of federal funds, for his promised wall. Trump was not happy with the deal struck by congressional negotiators which gave him U.S. $ 1.375 billion, falling short by U.S. $ 5.7 billion of what he had demanded.

As per the emergency declaration, the administration will uncover U.S. $ 2.5 billion of Military Narcotics Funding and U.S. $ 3.6 billion of Military Construction Funding. The Acting Defense Secretary of U.S. – Patrick Shanahan is studying whether it is necessary to build the border wall to support the use of armed forces. If he finds the construction of wall necessary, he will then have to decide which projects should he consider for withdrawing funds.

What does the lawsuit say?

The litigation filed seeks a preliminary injunction, prohibiting Trump from using the military funds to finance the U.S – Mexico border wall, without the congressional approval. The lawsuit also asked Court to declare Trump’s actions as illegal, as he demonstrated complete disregard of fundamental separation of powers principles engrained in the United States Constitution.

The Coalition of States also alleged that Trump is violating the National Environmental Policy Act, by going ahead with the wall, without undergoing Environmental Reviews.

Speaking on the lawsuit, California Attorney – Xavier Becerra said, “We’re going to try to halt the President from violating the Constitution, the separation of powers, from stealing money from Americans and states that has been allocated by Congress, lawfully.”

He added, “President Trump treats the rule of law with utter contempt. 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.”

Besides, several non-profit organisations including Border Network for Human Rights, American Civil Liberties Union and Center for Biological Diversity have also announced filing a lawsuit.

The National Emergency Act

The National Emergencies Act has a provision allowing the President to declare national emergency and use the funds by invoking certain statutory authority.

The National Emergency Act also has a clause that allows the Congress to terminate the emergency, if both houses vote for it. However, in such a scenario, Trump will surely go ahead casting the first veto of his Presidency.

History of National Emergencies

For the records, the U.S. has witnessed 58 national emergencies between 1978 and 2018. These emergencies have been declared for addressing foreign policy crises, terrorism and restricting investments associated with human rights abuses.

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