Just as President Donald Trump predicted, 16 states are suing the White House over the national emergency declaration to build his long-promised border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
Unable to get a fair deal in Congress since the Democrats now control the House, Trump announced Friday he would move forward with declaring a national emergency, knowing full well he would be sued and welcoming the challenge.
“We will have a national emergency, and we will then be sued, and they will sue us in the 9th Circuit, even though it shouldn’t be there, and we will possibly get a bad ruling and then we’ll get another bad ruling and then we’ll end up in the Supreme Court, and hopefully we will get a fair shake,” Trump said Friday.
Conservatives now hold a 5-4 advantage in the Supreme Court.
“Look, I expect to be sued,” Trump said before adding, “And we’ll win in the Supreme Court.”
The attorneys general from Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Virginia joined California in the lawsuit, which of course was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
The lawsuit argues that Trump does not have the power to bypass Congress in diverting funds for his border wall, raising questions over the scope of emergency powers.
Trump will likely find his own words, particularly “I didn’t need to do this,” at the center of the states’ legal challenge.
“I wanted to do it faster. I could do the wall over a longer period of time, I didn’t need to do this, but I’d rather do it much faster,” Trump said.
With the emergency declaration, Trump plans to use $8 billion to build the wall, including $1.375 billion that’s already been approved by Congress on Thursday as part of the latest spending bill. The White House also plans to use $600 million from the Treasury Department’s forfeiture funds account that is made up of money seized by the federal government from illicit activities.
Another $2.5 billion will be moved from a Pentagon program for countering drug activities, and another $3.6 billion will be moved from military construction accounts. The final pot is what White House officials say required the emergency declaration.
The White House is generally barred from moving money from one account to another without Congressional approval.
A series of Fox News polls published five days ago show a majority of Americans favored a broad immigration deal that includes a border barrier, non-barrier security measures and humanitarian aid. It also showed support for the wall is growing, reaching its highest level since 2015.
For the second straight month, support for the wall inched upward to 46 percent. It was 43 percent in January during the record-long government shutdown, and 39 percent back in September. Currently, 50 percent oppose the wall, down a point from January.
More than half of those surveyed oppose a national emergency declaration. Fifty-six percent are against it, including 20 percent of Republicans surveyed.