A coalition of 16 states filed a lawsuit against U.S. President Donald Trump's administration Monday to block his bid to divert billions of federal dollars to fund his border wall by declaring a national emergency.
The lawsuit, led by California, was filed in Federal District Court in San Francisco and aims to block the emergency declaration and construction of the wall.
"President Trump is manufacturing a crisis and declaring a made-up 'national emergency' in order to seize power and undermine the Constitution," California Governor Gavin Newsom said in a statement.
"This 'emergency' is a national disgrace. Rather than focusing on fighting the real vulnerabilities facing Americans, the President is using the powers of America’s highest office to fan the flames of nativism and xenophobia. Our message to the White House is clear: California will not be part of this political theater. We will see you in court."
Last Friday, Trump declared a national emergency over the southern border, and the Trump administration identified more than $8 billion in funding that could be used to build the border wall, the bulk of which -- $6.1 billion -- would come from funds previously allocated to the Pentagon.
Democrats have warned that no emergency exists on the U.S.'s southern border, and by his declaration, the president is setting a dangerous precedent for future commanders-in-chief. Several Republicans had also cautioned Trump against taking the action.
The president's action is also certain to spur legal challenges from Democrats in Congress. Article One of the Constitution mandates that "no money" shall be taken from the Treasury without congressional approval.
Trump had earlier acknowledged that he is likely to face a lawsuit but said he expects to be "successful" in court.
The lawsuit argues that the declaration of such a national emergency is unconstitutional due to Article One's provision that it is Congress which controls the country's spending.
The lawsuit was filed by California State Attorney General Xavier Becerra along with the attorneys general of Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Virginia.
By Umar Farooq in Washington, D.C.