A coalition of state attorneys general on Wednesday sent a letter to President Joe Biden reminding him that any potentially unconstitutional executive actions or federal overreach will not go unchallenged.
The letter, signed by six attorneys general (AGs), puts the Biden administration on notice that any actions that might exceed their statutory authority, are inconsistent with constitutional tenets, or place civil liberties at risk could trigger legal action by the states.
“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, who is leading the group, wrote in the letter addressed to the White House (pdf).
“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 officers, 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, or APA, 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 AGs from Arkansas, Indiana, Mississippi, Montana, and Texas.
It comes as Biden issued a series of executive orders in his first week since taking office. Some of the executive orders have overturned Trump-era policies, while others have established or expanded policies relating to climate change, racial equity, and the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus 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 U. S. relationship with Canada. The Biden admin has also 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.