Democratic attorneys general challenge Trump
Washington and Massachusetts are becoming the first states to sue the Trump administration with filings announced this week over the executive order restricting refugees and immigration. They likely won't be standing alone for long.
Since Donald Trump was elected president, Democratic state attorneys general have been forming a coordinated wall of legal resistance over immigration, environmental protections, health care, and other major issues.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman told The Associated Press that lawyers, including attorneys general, are having an "awakening" regarding the Trump administration.
"This is a president who does not have respect for the rule of the law," he said. "That's something that bothers a lot of people."
Schneiderman has given model legislation to local governments in New York, showing them how to become sanctuary cities that would refuse to cooperate with federal authorities on some immigration enforcement matters.
Their plan for legal pushback has precedent: Several Republican attorneys general made it a practice to routinely file lawsuits against the policies of former President Barack Obama.
The American Civil Liberties Union and other groups are taking up similar fights on behalf of individuals. But attorneys general - the chief lawyers for state governments - can sue more broadly on behalf of their states. Most are elected and thus can act independently of their state legislatures or governors.