Week 3/6 Action 3: Understand the Power That Our State Attorneys General Have

While Member of Congress influence is important, in a Republican-controlled Congress, we cannot forget the power of state officials. And state attorneys general (AGs) are at the top of that list. In the Obama Administration, Republican AGs made suing the administration a ritual, and it worked. As the Texas’ AG glibly said in 2013:

I go into the office, I sue the federal government and I go home.
— Greg Abbott

Abbott sued the Obama administration 27 times--and the Bush Administration just 3. And he wasn’t alone, check out this chart which shows the spike in litigation by State AGs against the Obama Administration. (Image and data data via Professor Paul Nolette)

Well, what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. The Democrat AGs of the following 16 states have taken legal action and stood firm against Trump’s Muslim Ban: California, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Minnestoa, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and Virginia. All-of-us must need to persuade and pressure more of our AGs to stand up to Trump. 

Here’s how:

1. Find out your state AG here or here. Study up on them. Are they Democrats or Republicans? When are they up for reelection? Check out their sites and social media pages to see where they stand on issues. 

2. If your AG is from the states above, post on social media, or call or email and thank them for their leadership. 

Here is a general message: “Thank you for opposing Trump’s Muslim Ban. We commend the leadership that our state is taking to protect our refugees and our democratic values.“

3. If they are not from the 16 states above call their office to determine what their position is. You can also research news articles. The AG in Texas, for example, supports the Muslim Ban. If you determine that your AG supports the ban, or has been silent on the issue, then post/email a message such as this:

“We are disappointed that AG [____________] did not support the Amicus Brief signed by the attorneys general of 16 states in opposition to Trump’s Muslim Ban. The State of [__________] should oppose the unconstitutional acts of the Trump Administration and stand with our refugees.”