California Hires Eric Holder as Legal Bulwark Against Donald Trump

Adam Nagourney, New York Times, January 4, 2017

Girding for four years of potential battles with President-elect Donald J. Trump, Democratic leaders of the California Legislature announced Wednesday that they had hired Eric H. Holder Jr., who was attorney general under President Obama, to represent them in any legal fights against the new Republican White House.

The decision by the Legislature to retain Mr. Holder, who is now a prominent Washington lawyer, is the latest sign of the ideological battle that may play out over the next four years between this predominantly Democratic state and Washington. {snip}

“Having the former attorney general of the United States brings us a lot of firepower in order to prepare to safeguard the values of the people of California,” Kevin de León, the Democratic leader of the Senate, said in an interview. “This means we are very, very serious.”

Mr. de León said he expected California to challenge Washington—and defend itself from policies instituted in Washington—on issues including the environment, immigration and criminal justice. {snip}

“It was very clear that it wasn’t just campaign rhetoric,” Mr. de León said of Mr. Trump’s proposals over the past year. “He was surrounding himself with people who are a very clear and present danger to the economic prosperity of California.”

{snip}

The move by Mr. de León and his Democratic counterpart in the Assembly, Anthony Rendon, follows Gov. Jerry Brown’s appointment of Representative Xavier Becerra as attorney general last month, to succeed Kamala D. Harris, who was elected to the United States Senate.

That appointment made Mr. Becerra one of the highest-ranking Latino officials in this state, and he is expected to be instrumental in battling with the Trump White House over any attempt to enforce stringent measures aimed at immigrants. Mr. Brown has made clear that he intends to challenge the administration on global warming and that his attorney general will be a key to that battle.

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