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California Relies On Other States To Challenge Trump

Three months into his tenure as California’s top lawyer, Attorney General Xavier Becerra has relied on other states to challenge the Trump administration.

California has supported or joined at least a dozen lawsuits against the Trump administration since Attorney General Becerra took office in January. The state has mostly filed friend-of-the-court briefs, including against the president’s executive order to block funding to sanctuary cities.

The state is also a party in the case against the new executive order banning travel from six countries, with Washington State leading the challenge.

But California--the nation’s largest and bluest state, where Democratic leaders have taken a hard line against the President--has not led legal action itself.

Becerra's office did not respond to an interview request, but former state Attorney General Bill Lockyer says he expects California will spearhead future cases.

"I remember in my day, it felt like I was helicoptered onto the bridge of a large aircraft carrier," Lockyer says. "And I was trying to make sure I understood all of the controls."

Lockyer endorses the strategy of relying on other states and says he expects California will file its own challenges, should the federal government specifically target state policies, such as federal waivers that allow California's emissions standards for cars.

Lockyer also says, despite the attention on it, challenging federal policies is only a small fraction of the attorney general’s job.

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