On Monday, Presidents Day, Colorado’s recently elected attorney general, Phil Weiser, sued President Donald Trump on behalf of Colorado, saying Trump’s declaration of a national emergency along the U.S.-Mexico border is unnecessary and unconstitutional.
Weiser, a Democrat, came to office in Colorado’s November blue-wave voting and has done, we are guessing, what many Democrats hoped he would do.
Weiser was hardly alone. He joined attorneys general from California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Virginia in the suit.
That’s a formidable list. Clearly they are not all states that share a border with Mexico. So what do they have in common?
Connecticut’s attorney general, William Tong, a Democrat, also was elected in the 2018 blue wave. Delaware’s attorney general, Kathy Jennings, a Democrat, similarly was elected in November, 2018.
Hawaii’s attorney general, Clare Connors, a Democrat, was appointed in January of 2019 by Gov. David Ige, a Democrat. Illinois’ attorney general, Kwame Raoul, is another Democrat who was elected in November, 2018.
Maine’s attorney general, Aaron Frey is a Democrat. He was selected by Democrats in the Maine Legislature in December, 2018. Brian Frosh is Maryland’s attorney general. He’s a Democrat who was elected to a second term in the office in November, 2018.
Michigan’s attorney general, Dana Nessel, a Democrat, was elected in November, 2018. Minnesota’s attorney general, Keith Ellison, is the former deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee. Despite allegations against him of domestic abuse, he was elected to the post in November, 2018.
Nevada’s attorney general, Aaron Ford, a Democrat, also was elected last November. Gurbir Grewal is New Jersey’s attorney general. He’s a Democrat who was appointed in January of 2018 by Gov. Phil Murphy, also a Democrat.
New Mexico’s attorney general is Hector Balderas, a Democrat elected in 2014. The attorney general for New York is Letitia James. She was elected in November 2018. A Democrat, James is also a member of the Working Families Party, which is democratic socialist.
Oregon’s attorney general, Ellen Rosenblum, a Democrat, was elected in 2011. Virginia’s attorney general is Mark Herring, a Democrat, who was elected in 2013 and recently became infamous as the second Virginia statewide official to admit to wearing blackface.
California’s attorney general, who got this party started, Xavier Becerra, a Democrat and former chair of the U.S. House Democratic caucus, was appointed to his current office in December, 2016 by former Gov. Jerry Brown, a fellow Democrat. Since then, Becerra has filed at least 45 lawsuits against the Trump administration.
We often hear that Trump wants to build a wall, the pretext for the emergency, only to fulfill a campaign promise, which may be true. But just as Trump was elected to be the president of all Americans, however short he falls of that standard, and we admit he is plumbing the depths, leading to drastic polarization of the nation, each of these attorneys general was elected or appointed to serve all of the people of their respective states – to be the lawyer for all Coloradans or Virginians or Nevadans.
States that share a border with Mexico, red or blue, have an interest here, and other parties, including Congress, can and should take this to federal court, at the very least to clarify the president’s powers.
The battle of the blue states against the president, however, as necessary and desirable as partisans conceive it, has an unpleasant historical ring.