To put it lightly, Gov. Larry Hogan doesn’t think the General Assembly is being very productive by giving Attorney General Brian Frosh an unchecked power to sue the president over his immigration order.
Speaking on his regular segment on WBAL’s “The C4 Show” this morning, Hogan condemned the recently passed joint resolution expanding the attorney general’s powers to sue the federal government as a wasteful, potentially unconstitutional overreach by state legislators.
“I thought it was outrageous and disgraceful and, quite frankly, it was probably the lowest point I’ve ever seen in the legislature,” he told the radio show host, former Maryland state Sen. Clarence M. Mitchell, IV.
For the last century and a half, Maryland’s top prosecutor has had to request permission from the governor or state legislature to sue the federal government. This week’s change was the first time since 1864 that the state expanded the attorney general’s power, Hogan said.
“Now, he can ignore both branches of government and just go off on some wild, crazy effort – whatever he woke up that morning wanting to do,” Hogan said.
The state’s heavily Democratic General Assembly easily passed the joint resolution this week so that Maryland can sue President Donald Trump. Frosh has argued Trump’s immigration order banning travel to the United States from seven predominantly Muslim countries harms public institutions’ potential by limiting their talent pool. He also argued in an amicus brief he signed supporting Washington state’s lawsuit against Trump that it will negatively affect state tourism revenue and Maryland’s ability to enforce its own anti-discrimination laws, among other issues.
Hogan labeled the measure potentially unconstitutional, though he didn’t elaborate as to why. He pointed out that, somewhat ironically, the attorney general is the one who would have to argue the measure is constitutional to nullify it.
An additional thorn in Hogan’s side is the potential added costs stemming from the change. While the power expansion proposal itself doesn’t cost any money, a lawsuit will. A related bill requests $1 million to be approved by the governor to fund the legal challenge and employ five attorneys.
“They turned around with the very next bill and said, ‘We just lied to you by saying there’s no cost because now we need money, there’s gonna be cost,’” Hogan said.
The governor said this effort and the Democratic Party’s decision to hire a communications specialist to “attack” him were the “only two things [Democrats] have accomplished this session.”
Hogan has largely stayed out of the fray regarding Donald Trump’s troubled presidency. When C4 asked him if he saw the president’s first-ever solo press conference yesterday, where Trump essentially spent more than an hour criticizing reporters for doing their jobs, Hogan said he was too busy.
“Not sure I would want to catch it,” he added.
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