Another judge rules Trump’s border wall funding “unlawful”


This all sounds naggingly familiar. The President’s team works on reallocating funding to continue construction work on the southern border wall by the military. Someone gets angry about this and goes to court. They find a sympathetic judge who rules against the President. I thought summer was the season for reruns? (National Review)

Another federal judge ruled against President Trump’s use of a “national emergency” declaration to divert funds for the construction of a border wall on Friday, finding the use of an emergency proclamation “unlawful” because it violated a Congressional budgeting measure from January.

“The Congressional language in the [bill] reveals Congress’s intent to limit the border barrier funding,” wrote Judge David Briones, who was appointed to the federal District Court for the Western District of Texas by former President Bill Clinton.

We’ve already been through this. One judge already tried to block the appropriation of the funds and the Supreme Court put that judgment aside this summer.

A lot of this is going to sound familiar. The judge in the case, David Briones, is a Clinton appointee. The plaintiffs are the County of El Paso, Texas and Border Network for Human Rights. If you follow many of these cases you might be wondering how either of these entities established standing to bring a lawsuit over the disbursement of federal funds. Good question.

El Paso County claimed to have standing on the grounds that they suffered harm from the decision to continue border barrier construction work. What sort of harm? Damage to their reputation as a county. And they convinced the judge to agree. He wrote that El Paso County had suffered “an injury to its reputation and has had to take affirmative steps to avoid harm.”

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The remedy that the plaintiffs are seeking in the form of an injunction appears to be built on shaky ground as well. They claim that the President’s declaration of a national emergency on the border was invalid because it failed to meet the National Emergencies Act’s definition of “emergency.” But the definitions there are so sweeping that virtually anything could apply. The President is only required to specify the provisions so activated and notify Congress.

That’s all been done, and Congress has previously established more than 130 different types of emergency actions that are available, leaving room for improvisation when needed. Oh, and just as a bonus, one of them is “authorizing and constructing military construction projects” under Title 10.

Meanwhile, construction continues apace, despite worries about bulldozers running down some cactuses. This one will go through the appeals process like the rest and it would be surprising if the ending were to be any different.

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