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State attorney general active in opposing Trump administration

So far, Oregon has participated in eight lawsuits against the administration and spent more than $100,000


Capital Bureau

Published on October 24, 2017 5:35PM

Last changed on October 25, 2017 8:06AM

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum so far has pressed eight lawsuits against the Trump Administration.

Pamplin Media Group

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum so far has pressed eight lawsuits against the Trump Administration.

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Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum has sued the federal government at least eight times and taken dozens of other actions to challenge federal policies since President Donald Trump took office nine months ago — and there’s more in the works.

So far those actions have cost taxpayers more than $100,000.

In contrast, Oregon joined in no lawsuits against federal agencies in the first nine months of President Barack Obama’s first term.

“I and my state Department of Justice are all hands on deck in this fight to look out for our people and our state in the face of one of the most dangerous leaders in American history,” Rosenblum said in a speech Saturday at the Democratic Party of Oregon summit in Sunriver.

Legal action isn’t cheap.

Four of the major cases — involving policies related to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, health care subsidies, public records and immigration — have cost Oregon taxpayers $100,259 to date, said Kristina Edmunson, Rosenblum’s spokeswoman.

Rosenblum’s office was unable to provide costs for other litigation against the administration.

Rosenblum, a Democrat, was elected to a second term as attorney general on the same day Trump, a Republican, won the presidency.

“Twenty-two states have Democratic attorneys general, and let me tell you, we’re all in this together — meeting weekly by phone and every few months in person,” Rosenblum said. “And we have had a number of successes that have convinced us we must not let up, in this seemingly unending barrage of attacks against the civil rights and environmental protections of our country.”

The first came when Oregon joined two lawsuits challenging Trump’s January executive order temporarily banning visitors, students, workers and refugees from seven Muslim-majority nations. Federal courts have since stayed multiple versions of the travel ban.

Most recently, Oregon joined 18 other states to challenge Trump’s order to end federal subsidies that help low-income Americans pay their health insurance premiums under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

In addition, Oregon has challenged 20 out of 52 environmental regulations the Trump administration has moved to eliminate or roll back, Rosenblum said.

The series of actions coming out of the Trump administration is “dizzying,” she said.

In the first nine months of the Obama administration, Oregon joined no lawsuits against the federal government, according to the state Department of Justice.

Just five days before Obama took office, Oregon and five other states sued to block a Bush administration regulation designed to enhance protections for health care workers who refuse to perform abortions for moral reasons. The regulation enabled the federal government to withhold funding from state and local governments and others who discriminated against those health care workers.

The Obama administration moved to rescind the regulation just one month later.

Rosenblum is prepared to file at least two potential lawsuits against the Trump administration that are specific to Oregon.

She said she plans to challenge any Trump administration move to decrease the acreage of southwest Oregon’s Cascade Siskiyou National Monument, which Obama expanded in 2016. While the 1906 Antiquities Act authorizes a president to designate a national monument, a legal question remains whether that includes the power to shrink or eliminate the designation.

The state also would go to court if the Trump administration ends federal funding for Planned Parenthood, which provides reproductive health services for women, Rosenblum said. U.S. law already prohibits use of federal funds for abortion, a service some Planned Parenthood clinics provide using money from other sources.

Obama experienced similar challenges to his policies by Republican attorneys general during his two terms.

Led by then-Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt — now director of the Environmental Protection Agency — those states attempted to overturn environmental rules by the EPA, and challenged actions by other federal agencies.

Here are the other Trump administration policies Oregon and other states have challenged either in court, in letters of intent to sue or formal opposition to regulation changes:

• A repeal, announced Oct. 10, of Obama’s 2015 executive order requiring power plants to cut greenhouse gas emissions;

• The Oct. 6 rollback of Affordable Care Act requirements for employers to provide insurance coverage for birth control;

• A Sept. 22 rescission of a 2011 Obama administration directive on how schools should investigate reports of sexual assault;

• A Sept. 5 decision to end Obama’s DACA, which allowed undocumented immigrants brought here as children to legally work and attend school;

The state last week also sued federal agencies for failing to produce public records on immigrant deportations and detentions.

• The discontinuation, announced in June, of an Obama administration program to forgive the loans of student borrowers who were defrauded by their schools;

• A June 14 delay of Clean Air Act rules designed to prevent chemical accidents;

• A May 18 suspension of new requirements for greenhouse gas emissions reporting and tracking on highways. The Trump administration announced in September it would allow the tracking to move forward.

• A March delay of new energy-efficiency standards for ceiling fans. The Trump administration in May reversed course and allowed the standards to take effect.

The Capital Bureau is a collaboration between EO Media Group and Pamplin Media Group.


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