Court Battles

California has sued the Trump administration 46 times. Here are the lawsuits


As President Trump enters his third year of the presidency, California’s Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) has remained a persistent thorn in the side of his administration on issues ranging from immigration to protecting the environment and the Affordable Care Act.

In total, the California attorney general’s office has sued the federal government a record 46 times in just two years, more than any other state attorney general during the Trump administration or any other presidency in recorded history.

{mosads}Many of those lawsuits have been decided in the state’s favor, while others, including two filed since the beginning of 2019, remain in the courts. Some of the efforts included joining lawsuits led by other states targeting the administration. An adviser to the attorney general, Sarah Lovenheim, told The Hill that the office has secured 27 legal victories against the Trump administration so far in lawsuits at various stages.

By contrast, Republican attorneys general across the country sued the Obama administration the same amount — in total — 46 times during the eight years of his presidency. Becerra’s office looks poised to singlehandedly eclipse that number by the end of Trump’s first term, the Republican Attorneys General Association told Mercury News last year.

In a statement to The Hill, a representative for Becerra’s office said that the attorney general’s “decision-making is often shaped by his deep-rooted belief that everyone who works hard and plays by the rules earns a chance to get ahead.”

Here’s a list of the 46 lawsuits the Trump administration has faced from Becerra’s office so far:

Blocking Trump’s ban on travel from several Muslim-majority countries

In March of 2017, California joined State of Washington v. Trump against the first version of the ban on travel from several Muslim-majority countries.

Fighting announcement to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

California filed in 2017 to prevent the Trump administration from ending DACA, winning a preliminary injunction that halted the Trump administration’s order to end the program.

Fighting against Trump administration opposition to ‘sanctuary’ policies

The state filed a lawsuit in 2017 against the administration’s decision to put requirements on law enforcement grants barring the funds from going to cities with “sanctuary” laws protecting undocumented immigrants, and the state filed a second lawsuit in early 2018 to obtain information from the Justice Department on new requirements for the grants.

Dispute against Trump’s plans for a border wall

In September of 2017, Becerra’s office filed a lawsuit challenging construction of the president’s border wall in two regions, San Diego County and Imperial County.

FOIA lawsuit over DHS immigration practices

Becerra’s office filed a lawsuit in October of 2017 after the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) refused to produce documents following a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from California officials regarding immigration enforcement practices.

Challenge over citizenship question on 2020 census

Becerra filed suit in March of last year after the Trump administration announced that a question to determine whether residents are living in the country legally would be inserted in the 2020 U.S. Census. The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a similar case this term.

Lawsuit against family separation policy

The state joined 17 others last year to sue the Trump administration over a “zero-tolerance” immigration enforcement policy that forced children to be detained and separated from their parents if the family is suspected of crossing the border illegally.

Filed suit over withheld federal grant funds

Becerra filed a lawsuit in August of 2018 claiming that the Trump administration had placed unfair requirements on local law enforcement grants, which resulted in the return of $28 million in federal funds to California.

Challenging national emergency declaration

The state’s most recent lawsuit, filed just days ago, challenges the legal rationale Trump has used to declare a national emergency and reallocate funds to his project for a border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Fighting transgender service member ban

The state filed in late 2017 asking a judge to halt the Trump administration’s ban on transgender service members in the U.S. armed forces, winning a preliminary injunction that the Supreme Court lifted last month.

Lawsuit over rules affecting access to birth control

Becerra challenged the administration in 2017 with a lawsuit challenging the administration’s end to rules requiring that employers provide coverage for birth control in company health plans.

Joined lawsuit over Affordable Care Act reimbursements

The state, along with New York and 16 other states, filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit brought by Republicans that challenged the legality of reimbursements to insurance companies passed in ObamaCare to control healthcare costs.

Sued Trump administration to restart Affordable Care Act reimbursements

The state led a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s decision to end reimbursements to insurers under the healthcare law, which Becerra later dismissed in 2018 while vowing future legal challenges.

Filed motion to intervene in Texas case against ObamaCare

Becerra led 20 states and Washington, D.C. in an effort to fight against a Texas lawsuit that led to the healthcare law being declared unconstitutional, and the case now remains in appeal.

Lawsuit opposing expansion of Association Health Plans

A lawsuit was filed last year challenging a Labor Department rule that the state says would expand access to health care plans that are not regulated by ObamaCare.

Defending rules to protect students from for-profit college fraud

The state successfully filed in 2017 to join a lawsuit and stop a challenge from a California for-profit schools group that hoped to stop Department of Education regulations targeting for-profit school fraud from taking effect.

Defended Obama administration regulation targeting for-profit schools

Becerra filed in defense of a rule passed by the Obama administration mandating that for-profit schools prepare students for a recognized field of work beyond graduation.

Filed against Department of Education over debt-relief claims

Becerra filed a lawsuit in 2018 after the Department of Educations was accused of failing to process loan repayment claims from students who were defrauded by for-profit universities.

Defending net neutrality provisions

California filed in January of last year to protect the Obama administration’s net neutrality rules overturned by the Federal Communications Commission.

Filed to stop availability of 3D printed guns

The state filed a lawsuit in August of last year challenging the State Department’s decision to allow the manufacturing of firearms with 3D printers.

Challenged EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt over conflicts of interest

Becerra filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2017 when the EPA refused to produce documents relating to then-head Scott Pruitt.

Lawsuits over Waste Prevention Rule (3)

Becerra was involved with three lawsuits over a Trump administration decision to delay and eventually repeal a rule governing methane emissions on public and tribal land.

Lawsuit over Department of Energy report on energy standards for commercial products

California challenged the Energy Department over what it says is the agency’s failure to produce final reports for energy standards on items including portable air conditioners and walk-in refrigerators.

Fight over coal leases on public land

Becerra challenged the Interior Department in 2017 over a decision to begin leasing out public land for coal mining.

Lawsuits over Valuation Rule governing royalties from oil, gas, and coal extraction (2)

The state has been involved with two lawsuits over the Trump administration’s delay and eventual repeal of a rule requiring that Americans see some royalties from companies that extract oil, gas, or coal from federal land.

Challenge over delay of penalties for automakers who do not comply with fuel efficiency standards

The state led a lawsuit and secured a ruling requiring that the administration immediately implement new penalties for automakers who produce cars that don’t comply with fuel efficiency standards.

Fought Trump administration delay of rule requiring measurement of greenhouse gas emissions from highway traffic

Becerra’s lawsuit forced the Trump administration to immediately implement a rule requiring local officials to measure pollution from highway traffic.

Challenging Energy Department delay of efficiency standards

California filed a successful lawsuit challenging a delay in DOE energy efficiency standards governing ceiling fans.

Lawsuits over EPA ozone standards (2)

Becerra was involved with two lawsuits which challenged the EPA’s failure to designate areas of the country as either “attainment” or “non-attainment,” and secured a ruling forcing the EPA to designate the areas of the country endangered by smog.

Lawsuit over fracking regulations

Becerra filed in early 2018 against a Trump administration repeal of fracking regulations for federal and tribal lands.

Filed suit defending Obama’s Clean Water Rule

The state filed a lawsuit in early 2018 to defend the Obama-era regulation from the EPA governing water management.

Challenging EPA over methane emissions

California filed suit against the EPA in 2018 over the agency’s supposed failure to reduce methane emissions from oil and natural gas mining operations.

Forcing EPA to ban toxic pesticide

The state successfully filed a suit in 2018 that forced the EPA to ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos, which is suspected of causing health problems for infants and small children.

Challenging end to EPA provision requiring major sources of air pollution to reduce emissions.

The lawsuit, filed by Becerra last year, challenged the end of the EPA’s “Once In, Always In” policy.

Fought to uphold single vehicle emission standard

Becerra and 16 other states filed a lawsuit last year in an attempt to stop the Trump administration’s end to America’s single vehicle emissions standard.

Sued EPA over suspending program protecting workers from pesticides.

Becerra forced the EPA in 2018 to require safety training for agricultural workers and their families around the use of toxic pesticides.

Challenging EPA over not implementing methane rule for landfills

The state sued last year to force the EPA to enforce a 2016 a rule governing methane emissions from landfills.

Blocking EPA attempt to end rule governing production of high-pollution diesel engines

The EPA reversed a decision to cease enforcement of a rule surrounding the production of high-pollution engines after California and other states sued.

Fighting end of Interior Department rule on migratory birds

California and other states fought in September of last year against a Department of Interior ruling that exempted companies from rules requiring efforts to prevent mortality among migratory birds, including the bald eagle.


This article was updated at 8:20 p.m.

Tags Donald Trump Scott Pruitt Xavier Becerra

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