Six state attorneys general have notified President Joe Biden that they would challenge any potentially unconstitutional executive actions or federal overreach.
“We stand ready to meet with your administration to discuss more how the issues below affect our states; litigation is never first option, and we would like to help your team in its important job on behalf of all Americans, consistent with the Constitution and the rule of law,” West Virginia AG Patrick Morrisey wrote in a letter explaining the move. “Yet if you sign unconstitutional laws passed by Congress, it will be our responsibility and duty to challenge those laws in court. If cabinet officials, executive officer, and agencies go beyond the bounds of their statutory authority, fail to follow legally required procedures or fall short of the bedrock Administrative Procedure Act obligation of reasoned decision making, it will likewise be our responsibility to take action.”
The Administrative Procedure Act is a federal law that governs the process for agency rulemaking and has been frequently invoked to challenge executive branch rules and regulations. Morrisey is joined by attorneys general from Arkansas, Indiana, Mississippi, Montana and Texas. It comes as Biden issued a series of executive orders in his first week in office. Some of the executive orders have overturned Trump-era policies, while others established or expanded policies relating to climate change, racial equity and the pandemic.
Some of the orders have already drawn widespread scrutiny, such as the decisions to rejoin the Paris Climate agreement and to cancel the Keystone XL Pipeline, which is expected to put thousands of jobs at risk and undermine the nation’s relationship with Canada. The Biden Administration also has met with backlash for embracing a quasi-Marxist critical race theory in its policies seeking to prioritize certain racial groups that have historically met with disadvantage over others.
The Biden administration already has faced several legal challenges over its executive actions. A federal judge in Texas temporarily blocked Biden’s executive order to halt the deportation of certain immigrants for 100 days. The order is seen as a setback for the administration, which had campaigned on implementing far-reaching immigration changes, including a plan that would legalize about 11 million illegal immigrants.