President Donald Trump has been named in more than 50 lawsuits since taking the oath of office, a staggering number compared to the first days of past administrations.
Since being sworn in Jan. 20, Trump has been named in 52 federal cases in 17 different states, according to the Administrative Office of the United States Courts. Comparatively, Barack Obama was named in three and George W. Bush and Bill Clinton were each named in four cases between Jan. 20 and Feb. 1.
While the president is often named in court cases against the federal government, the Trump administration is facing a wave of legal challenges for its two controversial executive orders that focus on immigrants from Muslim-majority nations or immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally. They also will have to battle a lawsuit over Trump's possible conflicts related to his businessholdings.
Lawsuits Against U.S. Entry Restrictions
Civil rights and Muslim advocacy organizations and groups of immigrants filed a wave of legal challenges to Trump's order on Jan. 27 that saw a number of Muslim immigrants detained at airports across the country and around the world and sparked mass protests nationwide.
Attorneys general from New York, Massachusetts and Virginia have joined suits opposing the order. Washington state filed its own suit, which was joined by Minnesota on Thursday. Hawaii filed a lawsuit in Honolulu federal court on Friday.
Each is challenging the order on the grounds that it violates an individual’s Constitutional right to religious freedom. The executive order temporarily bars entry by immigrants from seven nations — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — that are more than 90 percent Muslim. It also bans all refugees for 120 days and Syrian refugees indefinitely. The order also states that the U.S. would provide preferential treatment to religious minorities facing religious persecution in the seven countries.
The Trump administration has pushed back on the claim that the order is a “Muslim ban.”
"If you're letting a million people in, if 325,000 people from another country can't come in, that is by nature not a ban — it is extreme vetting," White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Wednesday.
Nevertheless, more lawsuits could be on the way as attorneys general from California, New York, Pennsylvania, and 12 other states, plus Washington D.C., jointly issued a statement this week calling the order “unconstitutional, un-American and unlawful.”
Trump also faces lawsuits from individuals in states including Texas, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Georgia.
Lawsuits Against Orders to Build Border Wall and Defund Sanctuary Cities
San Francisco is the first and only city so far to announce a lawsuit against Trump for targeting sanctuary cities in an executive order severely limiting federal grant money to cities that do not fully comply with all U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement requests.
“The president’s executive order is not only unconstitutional, it’s un-American,” said San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera at a news conference at City Hall on Tuesday, according to NBC Bay Area. “That is why we must stand up and oppose it. We are a nation of immigrants and a land of laws. We must be the ‘guardians of our democracy’ that President Obama urged us all to be in his farewell address.”
Though San Francisco is the lone city suing so far, many mayors and sheriffs have stated their displeasure over the announcement and plans to challenge it.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra promised on NBC's "Meet the Press" this week that he would do anything necessary to legally stop the border wall that was the subject of a separate presidential executive order.
"There are any number of hurdles that any administration would have to jump to build a medieval wall, which probably wouldn't even work," Becerra told Chuck Todd.
Suit Alleging Trump Violated Emoluments Clause
A lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington only a few days after Trump took office.
The group — made up of former White House officials, diplomats and law and ethics experts — alleges that Trump's "business interests are creating countless conflicts of interest, as well as unprecedented influence by foreign governments, and have resulted and will further result in numerous violations" of the U.S. Constitution's "Foreign Emoluments Clause."
Though the Office of Government Ethics has said that Trump's plan does not go nearly far enough to disentangle him from potential conflicts, the Trump administration has long maintained that the president has done more than enough to avoid any issues.
"The president-elect has no conflicts by law," Spicer said in a press conference only one day prior to the inauguration. "He has gone above and beyond in what he has done to make sure there are no conflicts."