Politics

‘Off The Charts’: State Attorneys General Have Filed 138 Lawsuits Against Trump, More Than Obama And Bush

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  • States have filed 138 legal challenges against the Trump administration marking a significant increase in lawsuits that states have filed compared to previous presidential administrations.
  • “The number of [attorneys general] lawsuits is off the charts,” Marquette University political science professor Paul Nolette, who tracks the lawsuits, told NBC News. “These days, they’re really ready to go, as in once a regulation is finalized.”
  • Republican Attorneys General Association spokesperson Kelly Laco accused Democratic attorneys general, who have filed the vast majority of the lawsuits, of using the court to “play politics,” NBC News reported

States have sued President Donald Trump 138 times, far more than both former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, on issues ranging from immigration and health care to student loan and environmental protections.

The tally was calculated by Marquette University political science professor Paul Nolette who created a database of all the lawsuits states filed against President Donald Trump. Just six of the lawsuits were led by Republican attorneys general and one was a bipartisan challenge, according to the database.

“The number of AG lawsuits is off the charts,” Nolette told NBC News. “These days, they’re really ready to go, as in once a regulation is finalized, within a week, sometimes within a day or two, the lawsuit is filed. They’re ready to run with it.”

“They’re taking full advantage of their institutional power,” he continued, according to NBC News. “And since AGs have a great deal of independence, they can do so without being tied by the governor or state legislators, which means they can prioritize what they want.” (RELATED: New York Attorney General Announces Lawsuit Seeking To Dissolve The NRA)

The number of lawsuits represented a marked increase compared to the previous two administrations, according to NBC News. Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama were sued 76 and 78 times by state attorneys general, respectively, over the course of their eight years in office.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and New York Attorney General Letitia James walk out of the Supreme Court following arguments in a case about the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program on November 12, 2019 in Washington, D.C. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and New York Attorney General Letitia James walk out of the Supreme Court following arguments in a case about the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program on November 12, 2019 in Washington, D.C. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, both Democrats, have led dozens of legal challenges against the Trump administration, according to Nolette’s database. There are nearly 50 cases that are currently active or pending including lawsuits against the Trump administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Postal Service, Department of Energy and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

“We had to be there under this administration as the president and his enablers engaged in conduct that was illegal and unconstitutional and did harm to residents of our state,” Healey, who a co-chairs the Democratic Attorneys General Association, told NBC News. (RELATED: Massachusetts Democratic Attorney General: ‘America Is Burning. But That’s How Forests Grow’)

Notable lawsuits Democratic attorneys general have filed against the Trump administration include a 2017 challenge over the termination of a contraceptive mandate under the Affordable Care Act, a 2017 challenge to a Trump memorandum that ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, a 2019 challenge over the EPA’s decision to loosen regulations under the Clean Air Act and a July challenge to the federal government’s reversal of previous regulations defining discrimination on the basis of gender identity as sex discrimination.

On Friday, New York Attorney General Letitia James threatened to sue Trump if he withheld the coronavirus vaccine from New York, according to WROC-TV. Trump threatened to withhold a potential coronavirus vaccine from New York during a Friday news conference after Gov. Andrew Cuomo expressed distrust in the federal government’s effort to support the development and distribution of a vaccine.

There are currently 24 states with Democratic attorneys general and 26 with Republicans, according to The State AG Report. Democrat Karl Racine is the attorney general of Washington D.C.

“The fact that the Democrats have filed over twice as many lawsuits against Trump in just four years than the Republicans filed against Obama over eight years makes it clear that Democrats are using the courts to play politics,” Republican Attorneys General Association spokesperson Kelly Laco told NBC News.

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