The department on Monday filed a lawsuit in federal court in California, seeking an injunction against the enforcement of a recently passed state law that effectively blocks the sale or transfer of federal lands in the country's third-largest state by area.
It gave state officials the right to purchase any federal land in California before the US government sells it.
"We are forced to spend our resources to bring these lawsuits against states like California that believe they are above the law and are passing facially unconstitutional laws specifically meant to interfere with the federal government's ability to carry out its legitimate law enforcement duties", Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement.
"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.
The Justice Department argues SB 50 violates the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which states federal law "shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby".
"A small number of extremist lawmakers in the West have been arguing that the USA government has an obligation to dispose of US public lands into state and private hands". "We're prepared, as always, to do what it takes to protect our people, our resources and our values". One of the concerns about the new proposals is compliance with California's more stringent standards, based on green justice "science". Last month, the Justice Department sued California over its sanctuary city policies for illegal immigrants.
It's the latest battle between President Donald Trump and the nation's most populous state, where Democrats have tried aggressively to thwart the president's agenda.
Federal law says the Bureau of Land Management can select public land for sale if it meets certain criteria. The law was meant to preempt the Trump administration from possibly selling land state leaders felt worthy of conservation, such as national parks or monuments, though some officials warned from the start it might face legal challenges. "And yet, once again the California legislature has enacted an extreme state law attempting to frustrate federal policy".
The legal action is yet another clash between President Trump and California's liberal movement determined to demonstrate its resistance to his presidency and policies. Becerra also has responded to the administration's push to permit oil drilling off California's coasts.
The statement, though, was notable for the forcefulness of its language suggesting that the Trump administration would take on California's authority to set its own rules.
California officials assert they have the authority to implement the state legislation because they wouldn't be preventing sales of the land.
"Governor Jerry "Moonbeam" Brown pardoned 5 criminal illegal aliens whose crimes include (1) Kidnapping and Robbery (2) Badly beating wife and threatening a crime with intent to terrorize (3) Dealing drugs".
Last week, Becerra launched a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration's decision to include a citizenship question on the 2020 Census.