In a sharply worded and justifiably scathing letter, Attorney General Bob Ferguson has threatened to sue the federal government if the Trump regime does not abandon its plans to close the National Archives’ Seattle branch and sell off the property to generate cash for the United States Treasury.
Yesterday, our Attorney General stepped up to the plate to go to bat for us by revealing that he has studied the decision and believes it would not withstand judicial scrutiny. Ferguson has an excellent record of going up against the Trump regime in the federal courts and is essentially undefeated in the cases he’s filed.
“The decision is illegal and was made without consulting with local, state, or tribal officials,” Ferguson’s letter declares in one of its opening paragraphs.
“If OMB [the Office of Management and Budget, an agency that is housed in and controlled by the White House] and PBRB [the Public Buildings Reform Board] had consulted with local, state, and tribal officials, you would have learned of the sad legacy of the land on which the archives facility is located and the deep historical significance of the records stored there,” the letter goes on to say.
In subsequent passages, Ferguson explains that the building the Seattle branch of NARA is housed in was constructed on land land that once had been a thriving farm of an interned Japanese-American family — the Takasugi family — and that some of the records housed there document history of families who were affected by Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066.
The building also contains essential records that tribes in the Pacific Northwest must be able to easily access, Ferguson says. It would no longer be possible for tribes to access those records if the materials were shipped to California or Missouri, as NARA is planning to do at OMB’s direction.
“Although I hope to avoid litigation, my team is preparing to take legal action to defend access to these important historical records and prevent your agency’s unlawful decision from taking effect,” Ferguson warned the federal agencies.
“Please respond no later than close of business on Wednesday, March 18th, 2020 with your assurance that the records housed at the Seattle facility will remain in Washington State,” Ferguson added. “I am open to meeting with you between now and March 18th in order to have a direct conversation about resolving these issues and keeping these records in Washington State.”
You can read Ferguson’s letter in its entirety below:Letter by Bob Ferguson to OMB and PBRB