Trump sues California over sales of U.S. lands

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Chico Calif.-California once again coming under fire from the federal government. The bill now under challenge by the Trump administration expressly seeks to discourage the sale of federal public land without the state's permission-by giving California the right of "first refusal".

The U.S. government says California's law, which took effect January 1, is delaying land sales - even for projects that have been in the works for years - and is depressing their value.

In its complaint, the Justice Department contends that the law violates the U.S. Constitution's so-called Supremacy Clause and Property Clause.

Attorney General Josh Stein on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against the United States government over the addition of a question about citizenship on the 2020 census, according to a press release.

California officials claim the state doesn't interfere with the actual sale of federal lands, but rather prevents the transfer deeds from being recorded.

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"The Constitution empowers the federal government-not state legislatures-to decide when and how federal lands are sold", Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement Monday.

"The Justice Department shouldn't have to spend valuable time and resources to file this suit today, but we have a duty to defend the rightful prerogatives of the USA military, the Interior Department, and other federal agencies to buy, sell, exchange or donate federal properties in a lawful manner in the national interest". That suit is ongoing.

"Our public lands should not be on the auction block to the highest bidder", he said.

Under the legislation, anyone knowingly recording a federal land transfer without certification from California's state government is subject to a $5,000 fine.

The plaintiffs, led by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, saw an ulterior motive.

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Monday's legal salvos were the latest in a series of showdowns over numerous USA initiatives, particularly on immigration and the environment, that clash with California's more liberal policies.

Environmentalists in the state are incensed over a previous presidential order directing the Bureau of Land Management to consider changes to protections for the state's deserts.

The Trump administration on Monday signaled that it will likely upend California's ability to impose stricter standards for vehicle emissions than the rest of the country.

California Gov. Jerry Brown called the move a "belated April Fools' Day trick". Federal law gives the authority to federal agencies. Asking about citizenship, the lawsuit said, "will fatally undermine the accuracy of the population count".

Democrats argue the questions would depress illegal immigrants' participation in the national survey, and potentially cost the state Congressional districts as a result.

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"I regret the need to file yet another lawsuit against the state of California today", Sessions said in a statement.