Biden Sued Over Allegedly Exceeding His Legal Authority

( – Republican lawmakers in Arizona are pushing back on the Biden administration’s decision to create a new national monument near the Grand Canyon, due to concerns about the president exceeding his legal authority. Arizona House Speaker Ben Toma, Senate President Warren Petersen, and other state officials filed a lawsuit against Biden in an effort to block the designation.

In August 2023, Biden designated the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni-Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument, using Antiquities Act authorities. The Antiquities Act allows the president to designate spaces for scientific or historical preservation.

The lawsuit contends that Biden does not have legal authority under the legislation to designate the site in northern Arizona. The designation is a “disingenuous” move that does not actually protect any artifacts, Petersen said. The designation is a ploy to stop mining, ranching, and other economic activities on federal lands, according to Petersen.

Mohave County and Colorado City will lose tax revenue as a result of the designation, the lawsuit argues. Land-use restrictions stemming from the designation will lower the value of nearby State Trust Land, revenue from which goes toward Arizona public schools. The lawsuit compares Biden’s designation to that of a medieval king reserving land solely for royal diversion.

Local cattle rancher Chris Heaton filed a lawsuit alongside the lawmakers, contending that the designation could lead to the government prosecuting him for using the land, on which his family has been ranching for decades. Heaton is pursuing an injunction to keep existing grazing and water rights, as well as to prevent prosecution for impacting the land.

However, similar lawsuits challenging the president’s Antiquities Act authorities have failed in federal court. In 2023, a judge rejected a lawsuit in Utah that challenged Biden’s expansion of a national monument in the state. Only Congress is able to restrict the president’s authorities or remove national monument designations, according to US District Court Judge David Nuffer.

Nevertheless, the Arizona lawsuits will try to break the pattern and undo Biden’s designation, in an attempt to secure the state’s economic interests.

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