As Democrats prepare to enter next year completely shut out from any position of power in the executive and legislative branches of the federal government, Democratic attorneys general are preparing to challenge or oppose the incoming administration’s agenda. According to the New York Times, this would essentially be a continuation of the roles played by Republican attorneys general during the Obama presidency:
The states’ rights arguments that Republicans have made gospel for nearly eight years — that states must serve as a check against federal overreach — are likely to become convenient for Democrats. So are the legal tactics that Republican attorneys general used to stifle Obama administration programs, including filing lawsuits in front of friendly local judges to win nationwide injunctions against policies they hoped to stop, said Amanda Frost, a professor at American University’s Washington College of Law.
With Mr. Trump’s ascension, attorneys general of both parties may shuck any remaining veneer of nonpartisanship, even as they continue to wade across party boundaries on investigations involving consumer protection or pharmaceutical pricing.
According to Paul Nolette, a political-science professor at Marquette University, who studies attorneys general, Republican attorneys general filed partisan legal briefs in only five Supreme Court cases during the Clinton administration, a figure that rose to 97 in the first seven years of the Obama administration.
Donald Trump is already familiar with how litigious and problematic New york Attorney General Eric Schneiderman can be, having recently settled the class-action lawsuit against Trump University brought by Schneiderman for $25 million. But legal opposition in the states to the president’s agenda has a way of elevating the attorney general, as was the case with Greg Abbott in Texas. A new generation of Democratic stars may emerge from the legal trenches after opposing Donald Trump for the next four years.