Well, that didn’t take long.
Just hours after President Donald Trump stumbled through a Rose Garden press conference to announce his end-run around Congress to fund his border wall, the first lawsuit over his entirely fictional “national emergency” has been filed.
In a statement issued Friday afternoon, the government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington announced it had filed a motion against the Department of Justice demanding its Office of Legal Counsel “provide documents concerning the legal authority of the president to invoke emergency powers to declare a national emergency to build a wall along America’s southern border.”
The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, does not specifically demand that the national emergency declaration be rescinded. Rather, it accuses the DOJ of failing to comply with a lawful request to see just how the OLC claims Trump has the authority to issue the declaration in the first place.
Congressional Democrats are already lining up to fight Trump’s order. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the declaration “lawless” and an “abuse of power,” while both Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley and California Gov. Gavin Newsom have vowed to “see you in court.”
While Congress can technically overturn the president’s emergency order, the Republican majority in the Senate would likely block such an action, in spite of lukewarm grumblings from Republican lawmakers. The impasse will almost result in further court battles.
Regardless of what the DOJ says in response to CREW’s suit, Trump himself appeared to undercut his own legal defense for declaring the emergency, saying at one point during his Rose Garden speech that “I could do the wall over a longer period of time. I didn’t need to do this.”