NEW YORK, Feb 16 (APP):At least two lawsuits have been filed in response to US President Donald Trump on Friday declaring a national emergency to secure funding for a wall along the southern border with Mexico, according to news media reports.
The filings are expected to be part of a flurry of legal challenges to the constitutionality of Trump’s decision, USA TODAY said in a report. Meanwhile, The New York Times denounced Trump’s move in
an editorial entitled, “Phony Wall, Phony Emergency”, saying, “in a breathtaking display of executive disregard for the separation of powers, the White House is thumbing its nose at Congress, the Constitution and the will of the American people, the majority of whom oppose a border wall.”
Within hours after Trump signed off on declaring an emergency, the liberal watchdog group Public Citizen filed a federal lawsuit late Friday in the District of Columbia. The suit also includes three Texas landowners who are located along the southern border, who were told their property would be seized for a border wall if money was allocated to the project this year.
The lawsuit argues that Trump exceeded his powers by declaring an emergency and was a clear violation of the separation of powers.
“The president has no inherent authority to declare emergencies to override appropriations laws and other laws enacted by Congress; his emergency powers are defined and limited by statute,” the lawsuit states. “Because no national emergency exists with respect to immigration across the southern border, the President’s Declaration exceeds the limited authority delegated to the President.”
Another federal lawsuit was filed in D.C. by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW) in Washington, a prominent government watchdog group, but the litigation targets the Justice Department and revolves around a Freedom of Information Act request regarding the emergency order.
The organization contends that Trump’s administration failed to show the legal authority of his national declaration by refusing to cough over documents requested that included communications, including legal opinions, from the Justice Department, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Defense over whether Trump had the authority to declare an emergency to build a wall.
“Americans deserve to know the true basis for President Trump’s unprecedented decision to enact emergency powers to pay for a border wall,” CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said in a statement. “We’re suing because the government has so far failed to produce the requested documents or provide an explanation for their delay.”
But those two suits are just the beginning. A barrage of organizations and officials have already pledged to fight this in court, according to reports.
Political organizations and even the state of California were lining up challenges they intend to file in court to challenge Trump, something the president said he was prepared for. Trump said he expects the legal battle to make its way through the courts and end up at the Supreme Court, where he said he hopes his administration will get a “fair shake.”
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said on Friday that it planned to file a lawsuit early next week challenging Trump’s use of his executive powers to go around Congress. The organization, which has challenged the Trump administration on many legal fronts over the last two years, argued Trump’s order violates the Constitution.
The organization said no other president has attempted to use emergency powers to fund a project and pointed to remarks Trump made from the White House in announcing the order, where he said of his emergency declaration: “I didn’t need to do this. But I’d rather do it much faster.”
“By the president’s very own admission in the Rose Garden, there is no national emergency. He just grew impatient and frustrated with Congress, and decided to move along his promise for a border wall ‘faster,'” ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero said in a statement. “This is a patently illegal power grab that hurts American communities and flouts the checks and balances that are hallmarks of our democracy.”