Attorney General Bob Ferguson
Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson today affirmed his commitment to the lawsuit 15 states and the District of Columbia are bringing against the Trump administration over ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to a packed courtroom at the Gonzaga University School of Law.
Ferguson spoke to a large crowd, mostly comprised of Gonzaga law students, about the legal and constitutional arguments involved in the case. He began his presentation by stating that the Trump administration has no reason to rescind the program.
“No court in our country has said DACA is illegal,” Ferguson said.
Until Trump took office, the Department of Justice protected DACA, but overnight there was a change, Ferguson said. He referred to this decision as “arbitrary and capricious” and a violation of the Administrative Procedure Act.
The state Attorney General’s Office had been preparing a suit against the Trump administration over DACA before the decision to rescind the program was announced, Ferguson said. Since January, the Attorney General’s Office has filed 15 cases against the Trump administration, four of which were successfully litigated and resulted in rulings against the administration.
He compared preparing litigation to a game of chess.
“You always want to know what your opponent is thinking,” Ferguson said.
But he said his opponent in these cases, President Trump, is not a predictable person.
The main arguments in the lawsuit rest on statutory and constitutional violations. The Trump administration has violated both the Administrative Procedure Act and the Regulatory Flexibility Act, and while these arguments are not as flashy as constitutional ones, they will be critical to successful litigation, Ferguson said. He also cited violations of the Fifth Amendment’s Equal Protection and Due Process clauses as reasons for reversing the administration’s decision to end DACA.
Ferguson noted the importance of other organizations’ support of the lawsuit. He cited Amazon, Microsoft, Starbucks, the University of Washington, and Washington State University as being active and supportive in the state’s litigation. Earlier this month, WSU President Kirk Schulz said the university would aid Bob Ferguson in legal action regarding DACA.
As the case progresses in federal court, Ferguson remains hopeful the courts will side with the 15 states and District of Columbia.
“A courtroom is a great equalizer,” Ferguson said. “You can’t tweet your way out of a courtroom.”