The New York Times has a good report on the Democratic attorneys general who have been mounting legal opposition to the Trump administration’s agenda – focusing on the big issue right now, the travel ban executive order:
The three Democratic lawyers met over dinner in a cavernous hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., picking at seafood as they discussed how to take on President Trump: Eric T. Schneiderman, the attorney general of New York; Josh Shapiro, his counterpart in Pennsylvania; and Xavier Becerra, a former congressman who had been sworn in as attorney general of California only a day earlier.
Unrecognized so far from home, and little known to one another, the men spent a Wednesday evening late in January discussing a range of White House policies that might unsettle their states, including a mass deportation of unauthorized immigrants.
They never anticipated that a live-fire test of their teamwork would come less than 48 hours later.
Mr. Trump’s Jan. 27 decree on immigration, shutting off entry to the United States from seven overwhelmingly Muslim countries and halting refugee admissions, left states and cities scrambling to respond. Amid mounting protests and emotional scenes of disorder at American airports, it offered a galvanizing first challenge for a gang of Democratic attorneys general who have vowed to check the power of the White House.
In interviews, more than a dozen Democratic attorneys general, governors and party operatives detailed a week of frenzied litigation, late-night and early-morning phone calls and text messages, and strategies devised on airplanes and at sporting events. All told, Democrats say, the legal onslaught against Mr. Trump was a crystallizing moment for the party’s attorneys general — and a model for how to stall or unwind the administration policies they find most offensive.
The key quote, from New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas: “It does seem that we are becoming, potentially, the fourth branch of government.”
One update to this story: sixteen attorneys general have filed an amicus brief on behalf of their states with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in State of Washington v. Trump. The key excerpt:
The Executive Order at issue in this suit bars entry into the United States of nationals of seven majority-Muslim countries, including those who hold valid U.S. visas for work, study, and travel. It hinders the free exchange of information, ideas, and talent between the affected countries and the States, including at the States’ many educational institutions; harms the States’ life sciences, technology, health care, finance, and other industries, as well as innumerable small businesses throughout the States; and inflicts economic harm on the States through diminished tax revenues and other means.
Although the residents, institutions, industries, and economies of the amici States differ, all stand to face the concrete, immediate, and irreparable harms caused by the Executive Order.