The Trump administration asked a California judge to block a new state law that interferes with the sale of federal land to private developers.
The law, which went into effect January 1, gives the State Lands Commission the power to block the sale, donation, or exchange of federal lands by the federal government to any other person or entity.
The Justice Department said in a complaint filed Monday in Sacramento that the statute, signed by Governor Jerry Brown in October, runs afoul of the federal government's exclusive right to dispose of USA property.
The federal complaint, fronted by Jeffrey Wood, Acting Assistant Attorney General of the DOJ's Environment and Natural Resources Division, posits the cloud on marketable title created by the new duty placed on a buyer if they want their deed recorded like in any typical land purchase, is enough to invalidate the California law on constitutional grounds.
The state's lawmakers are also concerned that the Trump administration would open up more federal land in California to logging, oil drilling, or development.
Last month, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit to block three California laws that provide protections to undocumented immigrants.
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".
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra defended the state's restrictions on federal land sales. "We hope the Trump administration turns away from misguided and unpopular land giveaways".
This is the latest in a series of battles between President Trump and California.
The move escalates the war between California and the Trump administration. The state has sparred with the federal government in and out of court over a wide range of immigration and environmental policies, most recently over vehicle emissions standards and offshore drilling.
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".
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