Tennessee is the first state to sue the federal government based on 10th Amendment grounds. (Image: MGNOnline)

The Tennessee General Assembly is suing the federal government, challenging the constitutionality of its refugee resettlement program and arguing the state is being forced to spend money on services for refugees. 

State lawmakers want the court to make the federal government stop resettling refugees in Tennessee until the associated costs are taken on by the feds, according to The Tennessean

Local state representatives and a spokesperson for Gov. Bill Haslam couldn't immediately be reached for comment on the issue Tuesday morning.

The lawsuit alleges that the federal government is in violation of the 10th Amendment, which says that powers not delegated by the Constitution are reserved for states. It also asserts that the federal government is not complying with the Refugee Act of 1980, which is based on the 10th Amendment. 

The Michigan-based Thomas More Law Center filed the suit on behalf of several state legislators after state Attorney General Herbert Slatery declined to do so. 

The Thomas More Law Center's mission is, in part, to "preserve America’s Judeo-Christian heritage [and] defend the religious freedom of Christians."

According to the center, the lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, isn't to harm refugees, but to "preserve the balanced constitutional relationship between the federal government and the states."

The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee pointed out a blog postfrom the center in which Thomas More Law Center President Richard Thompson wrote, "Muslims are not arriving on American shores to assimilate, but to conquer."

ACLU of Tennessee Executive Director Hedy Weinberg criticized the state government's selection of the Thomas More Law Center and said it's known for its "radical anti-Muslim ideology."

"The Tennessee General Assembly's decision to move forward with this lawsuit is not only very troubling but unjust and wrong," she also said in a prepared statement. "There is no reason to attack vulnerable families fleeing from terrorism. No matter what Tennessee politicians say, this lawsuit is driven by animus toward Muslims."

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