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The California law, which gives the state the right of first refusal on sales of federal land, discourages transactions with private developers for resource extraction, the USA says.

The suit is the latest salvo in the legal battle between the state and federal governments over numerous US initiatives, particularly on immigration and the environment, that clash with California's more liberal policies.

Environmental groups widely see the law, which came into effect at the beginning of the year, as a way of preventing the federal government from selling land for resource-extraction and other private development.

The Trump administration has escalated its legal battle with California announcing Monday that the Department of Justice has sued California over a state law that gives California the power to block the sale of federal land to private parties.

"The Public Lands Protection Act represents the will of the vast majority of Californians who believe public lands should remain in public hands", California state Sen.

"California was admitted to the Union upon the express condition that it would never interfere with the disposal of federal law".

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U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the Justice Department had no choice but to sue the state in order to ensure federal law enforcement. That suit is ongoing. Jerry Brown, and the California State Lands Commission as defendants.

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who also serves on the state's lands commission and is running for governor, said the Justice Department's legal action against the state amounted to an "attack" on California and challenges "our very way of life".

But Acting Deputy Attorney General Jesse Panuccio told reporters Monday, the law is "another example of California avoiding federal law, and no state legislature can, statute by statute, undermine the rule of law and the U.S. Constitution".

Monday's legal salvos were the latest in a series of showdowns over numerous US initiatives, particularly on immigration and the environment, that clash with California's more liberal policies. Federal law gives the authority to federal agencies.

Stein argues that adding a citizenship question would "depress census turnout in states with large immigrant populations, directly threatening those states' fair representation for billions of dollars in critical federal funds for education, infrastructure, and more, as well as in Congress and the Electoral College".

The lawsuit, filed in Manhattan federal court, called the decision to ask about citizenship "unconstitutional and arbitrary".


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