GOP Attorneys General Warn Biden of Lawsuits if His Administration, Agencies Overstep Authority

US President-elect Joe Biden makes remarks after receiving the second course of the Pfizer
JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

A group of Republican attorneys general sent a letter to President Biden on Wednesday as the president continues signing executive orders at a record pace, warning that they are willing to take legal action if the administration or federal agencies overstep the bounds of their authority in any capacity.

In the letter, led by West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, attorneys general identified their role as an “important check and balance” and cautioned that they are monitoring the actions the administration is taking.

“We stand ready to meet with your administration to discuss more how the issues below affect our states; litigation is never a 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,” they wrote, warning, “Yet if you sign unconstitutional laws passed by Congress, it will be our responsibility and duty to challenge those laws and 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 decisionmaking, it will likewise be our responsibility to take action,” the attorneys general continued:

2021.01.27 Letter — Presid… by Fox News

The officials added that the president cannot “cut constitutional corners or shirk statutory strictures without inevitably doing more harm to our country than good” and emphasized that the Executive Branch must “act within the strictures laid out by statutes passed by Congress.”

“Overreaching and defying Congress will not be rewarded or succeed,” they continued, touting the victories their states have had in “challenging unauthorized and unlawful executive actions” and reminding Biden that he is familiar with their successes from his years as vice president.

“You can be assured that we will do so again, if necessary,” they said, listing a few specific Biden agenda items including efforts to implement “the extreme ‘Green New Deal.’”

The Republicans also highlighted their commitment to preserving Americans’ freedoms, secured by the U.S. Constitution. Those rights, they said, are “not up for debate.”

“Yet two of those fundamental rights have been under assault in recent years — the right to the free exercise of religion and the right to keep and bear arms. We strenuously urge you to respect these rights as President,” they cautioned.

They concluded the letter by mentioning Biden’s call for unity and noted his actions in the first week in office appear to indicate that his administration “may be following the unfortunate path of executive unilateralism.” In light of that, they called for more “restoration, cooperation, and consensus than the first days of your Administration have demonstrated.”

Six attorneys general signed the letter, including Morrisey, who led the effort, as well as Ken Paxton (Texas), Austin Knudsen (Montana), Lynn Fitch (Mississippi), Todd Rokita (Indiana), and Leslie Rutledge (Arkansas).

Biden broke records in his first week in office, signing more executive orders than any of his predecessors. Former President Trump signed four in his first week in office and former President Obama signed five. Biden, however, has signed 40 “executive orders, actions and memorandums” as of January 27, according to CNN’s running tally, and the number continues to grow. The 78-year-old commander-in-chief is expected to take further executive action on Thursday to expand Obamacare and Medicaid.


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