Maryland today will join a multi-state lawsuit being filed against President Donald Trump in response to his newly revised travel ban.
Attorney General Brian Frosh announced on Friday that he will join several other states in suing Trump over his new executive order, which Frosh says threatens national security and restricts economic opportunity. Washington filed the suit last week after Trump unveiled an updated version of his executive order limiting travel to the United States from six mostly Muslim countries: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
His previous order also included Iraq, an indefinite ban for travelers from Syria and language exempting Christian religious minorities from the ban. The new order has dropped those pieces, but also suspends a key U.S. program providing aid to refugees.
In a statement, Frosh said the new executive order makes Maryland less safe and harms its ability to recruit academics, scientists and other top-level talent by barring travel from those countries.
“President Trump’s second executive order is still a Muslim ban,” Frosh said in a statement, later adding, “It will harm Maryland’s universities and our economy. It is unwise, illegal and un-American.”
Trump’s camp has defended the revised executive order, saying it will withstand legal scrutiny, unlike his previous one. “We feel very confident with how that was crafted and the input that was given,” White House spokesman Sean Spicer said last week, per the AP.
One month ago, Frosh joined more than a dozen states whose attorneys general filed amicus briefs supporting Washington’s original lawsuit against Trump for his initial travel ban. What differentiates this new move by Frosh is that Maryland will now be directly suing Trump’s administration, rather than supporting a lawsuit, making use of Frosh’s new power to sue the president without permission from the governor.
For 164 years, Maryland had a system in place that required the state’s top prosecutor to obtain the governor’s permission to sue the federal government. But last month, Democrats in the General Assembly quickly pushed and passed a resolution removing that hurdle. Gov. Hogan condemned the resolution, calling it “the lowest point I’ve ever seen in the legislature” and summing it up as a distracting example of partisan politics.
While the change itself does not require spending of taxpayer money, a lawsuit would. Soon after the General Assembly approved the change, House Democrats filed a bill calling for the state to provide $1 million to pay five attorneys to fund a legal challenge against Trump’s administration.
The Friday announcement from Frosh’s office said Maryland will formally join the lawsuit with Washington and others today. Hawaii, Minnesota, Oregon, New York and Massachusetts are also planning to sue the president.