Posted on August 8, 2020

House Democrats Can Sue Trump Over U.S.-Mexico Border Wall Funding, Court Rules

John Kruzel, The Hill, August 7, 2020

A federal appeals court ruled on Friday that House Democrats can proceed with a lawsuit over President Trump’s diversion of $2.5 billion in Pentagon funding to build a U.S.-Mexico border wall.

In a 7-2 decision, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that lawmakers have the legal right to sue the administration over a financing maneuver that a separate California-based federal appeals court found to be an illegal encroachment of Congress’s power of the purse.

The Friday ruling was seen as an endorsement of Congress’s right to pursue legal action to enforce its authority over federal appropriations. {snip}

The Supreme Court has allowed the Trump administration to continue using the defense funds amid ongoing litigation, despite the California-based court’s ruling that the scheme is unconstitutional.

Disputes over Trump’s financing tactic arose early last year after he declared a national emergency at the southern border in an effort to free up additional funding for his signature project. Trump’s move came after a congressional spending bill allocated some $1.3 billion for border security, which fell far short of the nearly $5 billion Trump said was needed to complete the border wall.

Trump then reallocated $2.5 billion in funding that Congress appropriated for defense and military uses, which sparked multiple lawsuits.