Lawmakers and others in Democratic-learning states have been howling over the past year about actions by the Trump administration and congressional Republicans that they say have undermined states’ rights. That includes promoting concealed carry legislation and attacking sanctuary status for immigrants to this week’s decisions on legalized marijuana and offshore oil drilling.
But it wasn’t too long ago that the shoe was on the other foot, with Republican states pushing back against the Obama administration’s intrusions on issues such as transgender rights and environmental regulation.
Promoting the constitutional protections for states’ rights – outlined in the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution – has always been popular among politicians. But it also is situational. Recent history shows that how strongly a party feels about states’ rights can depend on whether it’s in power and how a specific policy affects other constitutional rights.
There’s been a steady flow of lawsuits from mostly Democratic-controlled states opposing Trump administration policies, partly on states’ rights grounds. That follows a pattern set by Republican-led states, which repeatedly sued the Obama administration.
Following is a look