One of the most unhinged (which is saying something) parts of Donald Trump’s announcement that he was declaring a national emergency to build a border wall involved him sing-songing a list of courts in which he would lose legal challenges. Those legal challenges are already ramping up, as California Attorney General Xavier Becerra told ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos. California is “ready to go” with its lawsuit, and expects to be joined by Connecticut, Hawaii, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, and Oregon, among others.
While the Trump administration is reportedly planning to build a wall in Texas rather than California to deny California standing for a legal challenge, Becerra isn’t worried, telling ABC’s Martha Raddatz that “We’re confident there are at least 8 billion ways that we can prove harm. And once we are all clear, all the different states are clear, what pots of money that taxpayers sent to D.C. he’s going to raid, which Congress dedicated to different types of services—whether it’s emergency response services or whether it’s fires or mudslides in California or maybe tornadoes and floods in other parts of the country or whether it’s our military men and women and their families who live on military installations that might—that might have money taken away from them, or whether it’s money taken away from drug interdiction efforts in places like California, a number of states, and certainly Americans, will be harmed. And we’re all going to be prepared.”
The states are joining Public Citizen, which has filed suit, and the American Civil Liberties Union, which plans to do so. And contrary to Trump’s rhetoric about people on the border living in a giant emergency, border communities and residents are gearing up to challenge the national emergency. El Paso County—Trump’s favored example of how great walls are—has already joined a lawsuit. The town of Roma, Texas, is worried that it will lose bird-watching tourism if Trump’s wall is built, while a Roma resident living 150 yards from the Rio Grande worries that “The whole neighborhood will be washed out” by wall-created flooding. And if the plan is to keep out asylum-seekers, Rep. Veronica Escobar points out that, because a wall can’t be built right on the U.S.-Mexico border (since that would mean building a wall in a river) and will instead be built inside the border, “By the time asylum seekers make their way to our agents, they have really stepped foot on American soil and are able to ask for help and asylum protection.”
From sea to shining sea, and also right along the border he claims to be protecting, Donald Trump is going to face legal challenges. The question is whether Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell managed to rig the Supreme Court enough to uphold Trump’s will, however illegal.