As Republicans steamroll their extreme legislative agenda across the nation, there is a bright spot Democrats need to recognize and celebrate. While many Democratic legislators and activists can only resist the Trump agenda, Democratic attorney generals, including Iowa AG Tom Miller, have been leading the charge to block Trump’s actions. The Democratic AGs are regularly using the courts to fight the Republican onslaught.
They have taken a page from the Republican AGs’ playbook that they used to block President Obama’s agenda. The 22 Democratic AGs across the country have become the first line of defense in opposing Trump initiatives and protecting Obama’s legacy. They were prepared when President Trump was inaugurated and began immediately opposing his actions in the courts.
When President Trump issued his travel ban (also known as the Muslim ban) in January 2017, Miller joined with 15 AGs supporting Washington State’s lawsuit against President Trump’s Executive Order travel ban. They successfully stopped its enactment and since then the Trump Administration has been forced to issue two additional revisions. Iowa’s AG Miller issued this statement in February explaining the basis for opposing the Trump travel ban.
“The president has broad authority to oversee our nation’s immigration policies and procedures, but not even the president has authority to circumvent our Constitution’s fundamental guarantees of equal protection, religious freedom and due process,” Miller said.
Following that win, the Democratic AGs have challenged and successfully blocked a number of Trump and Republican actions. One of the latest actions last week was their opposition to Trump’s plan to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. This partisan voter suppression effort is meant to frighten immigrants from participating in the census.
The move threatens states with significant immigrant populations. California is warning that it could lose congressional seats if enough immigrants are undercounted.
Miller joined 18 AGs and six cities challenging the Trump Administration’s Census Bureau from demanding citizenship information.
“We believe everyone should be counted. Adding a citizenship question would undermine participation and accuracy,” Miller said.
New York’s AG Eric Schneiderman, California’s AG Xavier Becerra and Massachusetts’ AG Maura Healey have taken the national lead in the Democratic resistance. Schneiderman has been involved in over 100 legal actions against the Trump administration. Democratic AGs have filed dozens of lawsuits, complaints and other actions against the Trump Administration on education policy, immigration, marijuana enforcement, net neutrality, and offshore oil and gas drilling. Miller and other Democratic AGs have successfully defied Trump on a number of issues.
Lynn Hicks, the communications director for the Iowa Attorney General’s Office, pointed to several key issues for Miller. They include net neutrality, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and protections for federal student loan borrowers, particularly students of for-profit colleges.
Miller joined 21 AGs in a federal lawsuit challenging the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) repeal of net neutrality regulations.
“By repealing these rules, the FCC changed the so-called ‘Internet of Things’ to the internet of kings,” Miller said. “The FCC shouldn’t let providers be internet kingmakers through pay-for-play digital on-ramps. Consumers and small businesses alike should expect no less than equal access to internet content. Unfettered data access shouldn’t be a luxury—it’s a necessity that’s vital to our nation’s economy and our state’s economy.”
Seventeen state attorneys general, including AG Miller, joined to demand Trump “preserve and protect” the (CFPB) independence from politics. They questioned the appointment of Mick Mulvaney as director of the CFPB. They pointed to Mulvaney’s widely-reported statements disparaging the agency.
On the DACA issue, Miller pointed to the Iowa repercussions in the 14 state AG lawsuit challenging President Donald Trump’s order. He specifically explained the number of Iowans at risk from Trump’s order to end (DACA).
“DACA has protected hundreds of thousands of young people, including nearly 2,800 here in Iowa, who arrived illegally as children, grew up following the rules, and are very much a part of our fabric,” Miller said. “Our lawsuit alleges the Trump administration’s action to dismantle DACA violates peoples’ due process, denies them equal protection under our constitution, and causes ‘immediate harm’ to those whom DACA is intended to protect.”
In addition to these critical issues, Miller has urged Congress to close the bump stock loophole. He joined with other AGs in demanding U.S. Education Secretary DeVos reverse her decision to cut ties with CFPB over student loans. Miller and AGs from 18 states sued both Secretary DeVos and the Department of Education in order to protect students from predatory for-profit schools.
Democrats can be proud and thankful to AG Tom Miller and his fellow Democratic AG colleagues for protecting America from Trump’s assaults on democracy.
by Rick Smith