‘They are political lawsuits that have little value to California…’
(Patrick McGreevy, Los Angeles Times) While much could be said about California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, one can’t question his work ethic.
Under his watch, the litigation-happy state celebrated its 50th lawsuit against the Trump administration on Monday.
It came, ironically, as reports revealed the state’s onerous taxes (to cover the cost of said suits) had driven out enough people to likely result in California losing one of its U.S. congressional seats after the 2020 Census.
The latest suit challenges a new federal rule that the state argues interferes with the ability to deduct union dues from the paychecks of workers in a government program that helps the elderly and disabled in their homes.
Becerra said the new rule applies to California’s 500,000 workers in the state’s In-Home Supportive Services program who provide home-bound clients with services such as bathing, feeding, house cleaning and administering medications.
Many workers are represented by the Service Employees International Union.
Unions in California and other states have persistently and repeatedly sought technicalities to help skirt the recent Supreme Court Janus ruling that said public-service employees could not be forcibly compelled to pay union dues.
The federal government covers about half of the cost of the program, but a new Medicaid rule creates barriers for deducting employee medical benefits and voluntary union dues from workers’ paychecks, according to the lawsuit filed by California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Oregon and Washington. The rule affects home healthcare workers in the other states as well.
“With this rule, the Trump administration is not only harming Medicaid skilled home-care workers who have joined unions, but the millions of seniors and people with disabilities who depend on these indispensable workers,” Becerra said in a statement.
About half of home-care workers elect to join a union, Becerra added.
Becerra’s previous 49 lawsuits against the Trump administration include 24 lawsuits on environmental issues, of which the state lost nine in court, and 11 involving immigration matters in which the attorney general lost six times, his representative said.
Other lawsuits were over gun control, the U.S. census, consumer protection, education and civil rights issues.
Becerra’s office has previously filed seven lawsuits against Trump healthcare policies, including six in which the state won in court, a representative for Becerra said.
California has passed the milestone set when Republican attorneys general in Texas filed 48 lawsuits against the Democratic administration of President Obama on issues such as healthcare, immigration, climate change and transgender bathroom policies.
Becerra was appointed attorney general by then-Gov. Jerry Brown in 2017 to fill a post vacated when Kamala Harris was elected to the U.S. Senate. Becerra previously served 12 terms in Congress where he was part of the Democratic leadership.
He won his first statewide election as attorney general last year. During the campaign, Becerra’s Republican challengers accused him of spending too much time chasing the national spotlight with lawsuits against Trump and not enough time dealing with California’s problems.
“They are political lawsuits that have little value to California, such as the lawsuit on the border wall,” Republican challenger Steven C. Bailey, a retired judge, said at the time.
(c)2019 Los Angeles Times. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.