Judge rejects House Dems’ attempt to block Trump use of military funds for border wall

By Jacqueline Thomsen
The Hill

A federal judge has ruled against congressional Democrats who sought to temporarily stop the president from using military funds for a border wall.
Judge Trevor McFadden, a Trump appointee, handed the president a needed victory after the White House suffered several losses in legal battles with Democrats in recent days.
McFadden ruled that House Democrats cannot go to court to block Trump from using military funds to build the border wall “because the Constitution grants the House no standing to litigate these claims.”
“To be clear, the Court does not imply that Congress may never sue the Executive to protect its powers,” McFadden wrote.
But he said that because the House failed to show it has standing in court and given the lack of binding precedent showing it can sue and rulings made in related cases, “the Court cannot assume jurisdiction to proceed to the merits.”
Trump issued a national emergency declaration earlier this year to tap Pentagon funding and start construction at the border.
However, a federal judge in California last week ruled to block the administration from using some of the military funds tapped under the national emergency declaration.
House Democrats had argued that they could sue the president because they had exhausted every other option. And they claimed that Trump’s
attempt to divert military funds was unconstitutional because only Congress could appropriate funding.
The administration had argued that there was no circumstance in which Congress or the House could sue the executive branch.
But McFadden’s ruling didn’t touch on the merits of the emergency order because he had already decided that the House couldn’t sue.
“Congress has several political arrows in its quiver to counter perceived threats to its sphere of power,” he wrote. “These tools show that this lawsuit is not a last resort for the House.”
“The Court declines to take sides in this fight between the House and the President,” McFadden added.
House Democrats had also argued in a California court last month in support of states and a coalition of immigration group who also sought to stop Trump from using the military funds for the border wall.
Judge Haywood Gilliam, an Obama appointee, has ruled to partially stop the administration from tapping the Pentagon funding. The administration has said it will appeal his order.

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