California is leading a lawsuit against President Donald J. Trump in response to his declaration of a national emergency.
The lawsuit, which is also filed by 15 other states, claims the new declaration was unconstitutional as it overstepped the separation of powers.
Trump declared a national emergency Feb. 15 in order to fund a border wall along the U.S.–Mexico border, something that has been at the top of his agenda since his campaigning in 2015.
If the president wins the suit, he will have access to $8 billion to partially fund the wall.
The emergency declaration will redirect money from the military’s construction fund and the Department of Defense’s counter-drug activities fund.
The lawsuit, while led by California because it was filed in San Francisco’s Federal District Court, includes a coalition of states: Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Virginia.
The lawsuit is an attempt to block what the states consider to not be a valid emergency.
In the official lawsuit, it states the president “has used the pretext of a manufactured ‘crisis’ of unlawful immigration to declare a national emergency” to build a wall because he did not get the Congressional funding he wanted for the border wall.
While the president has the power to declare a national emergency for anything he considers a threat, the argument is that the Constitution gives U.S. Congress alone power over government spending.
Dr. Chris McHorney, chair of the History and Government department at California Baptist University, said the law on national emergencies is broad.
McHorney also said he believes Trump is trying to get around Congressional powers.
“In my opinion, Trump’s trying to bypass the legislative branch,” McHorney said.“The fact that we went through a government shutdown for 35 days in order to force Congress to appropriate the funds has all the appearance that he’s trying to bypass Congress.”
The U.S. House of Representatives recently blocked the national emergency declaration, but it still needs to pass in the Senate. If the Senate passes the block, it will go to the president’s desk, where he is expected to veto it.
If the president vetoes the block, Congress must have a two-thirds majority in both the House and Senate to override the presidential veto.
Brittaney Perkins, senior nursing major, said she does not believe Trump is overstepping his power as president.
“Trump is definitely a tough president and brutally honest, but I don’t think he’s doing anything wrong,” Perkins said. “I believe he’s following the law and not breaking it.
“I don’t see how he is overstepping his powers when he is the president and he has the power to call for a national emergency.”
Mary Rutherford, junior early childhood studies major, said she believes the states are doing the right thing in keeping the president accountable.
“The lawsuit is a right of the states to protest actions by the president that they feel are not in their best interest,” Rutherford said. “The president should only declare a national emergency in order to use the funds to support the nation or military in times of war or natural disaster.
“He should not be calling a national emergency to fulfill his campaign promises in time for re-election.”
After the declaration, Trump signed a bill that ensures the government will be funded through Sept. 30.
As for the lawsuit, this is the 46th lawsuit against Trump’s administration that the state of California has issued, ranging from issues on immigration to protecting the environment to the Affordable Care Act.