Will Washington state sue Trump over his border wall emergency declaration?

Some migrants observing in a fence at the border crossing between Mexico and Tijuana last November. (Photo by Bruno Gallardo.)

Washington was not one of the 16 states that declared a lawsuit last week against President Donald Trump over his plan to use emergency powers to spend billions of dollars on his long-proposed border wall.

But Washington state officials said last week that they are looking into it.

“I’m disappointed, but not surprised, to see the president is once again exceeding his authority in violation of the Constitution,” said Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson in a statement. “My legal team has been reviewing this issue for some time. In short, declaring a state of ‘emergency’ to build his wall is unlawful.”

Ferguson hasn’t been shy about suing the Trump administration on behalf of Washington state, including over the travel ban, the proposed citizenship question on the 2020 Census, and, most recently, over rules that would limit some federally funded healthcare providers from giving information and access to abortions.

The next steps of action for the attorney general and his legal team will be to determine if Trump’s declaration will in any way adversely impact Washington state’s federal funding, according to Ferguson’s office.

“If Washington is harmed, my office will take appropriate steps to block this unlawful action, just as we’ve blocked more than a dozen illegal and unconstitutional policies of this president,” Ferguson said.

Gov. Jay Inslee echoed the sentiment, posting on Twitter that “if Trump tries to take one penny from projects in Washington to spend on his racist vanity project on the border, we’ll see him in court.”

Trump’s plan is being challenged by this coalition, on the grounds that Trump cannot usurp congressional control over spending. Each of the states within this coalition, which includes New York and California among others, have democratic governors with the exception of Maryland.

Trump’s proposed redirection of funds would siphon over $6 billion, largely from military programs.

Washington state has dozens of different lawsuits against the Trump administration.

“I’m proud that our state has been first and foremost standing up against Donald Trump,” Inslee said during an appearance on MSNBC. “I was the first governor to come out against the Muslim ban. We’ve been very active against his child separation policies.”

“All of us know the situation here,” he said. “There is no national security emergency. There is just a political emergency. Donald Trump is in trouble. He took a shellacking at the polls, and know he’s searching for a rescue with this wall. You bet we’ll be vigorous.”

In addition to the statements made by Ferguson and Inslee, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal weighed in.

“We won’t stand for this,” Jayapal said in a statement. “A national emergency declaration for a non-emergency is not legal.”