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So there are two axioms that immediately come to mind:
Hell has frozen over!
And even a broken clock is right twice a day!
Whatever the reason, this was a big win and I’m extremely happy for the victory!
The Hill has more details on the case and the ruling:
President Trump on Monday notched a rare victory in the California-based federal appeals court by winning a dispute over the construction of certain barriers along small stretches of the U.S. border with Mexico.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a district court ruling that sided with the Trump administration in a lawsuit challenging its authority to waive environmental and public participation laws to expedite the border construction projects.
A three-judge panel ruled 2-1 that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has broad authority under the Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 to construct wall "prototypes,” replace 14 miles of primary fencing near San Diego and replace similar fencing along a three-mile strip close to Calexico, Calif.
A coalition of environmental groups, led by the Center for Biological Diversity, challenged the authority of DHS to waive dozens of laws, including the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, to make it easier to build the border infrastructure. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) also filed suit.
Steven Stafford, a Justice Department spokesman, said Monday that Congress has given the executive branch significant authority to build physical barriers on the U.S. border.
“Today the court has affirmed that authority, and that is a victory for the Trump administration, for the rule of law, and above all, for our border security,” he said in a statement to The Hill.
The appeals court decision narrows the path for environmental groups to launch legal challenges to Trump's high-profile push for expanding border barriers, including his campaign promise to build a wall along much of the U.S.-Mexico border.
“Congress has ceded its authority to Trump, who has swept aside fundamental public safety and environmental laws to build walls that won’t work,” Brian Segee, a Center for Biological Diversity attorney, said after Monday's ruling. “This lawlessness is destroying irreplaceable ecosystems and militarizing communities.”
The Supreme Court in December declined to hear the groups’ attempt to bring the case directly to the high court after initially losing in the district court. The groups warned the justices that the environmental impact of the projects authorized by the waivers would be substantial.
“The border walls are within, or in close proximity to, the habitats of rare animal and plant species including the burrowing owl, Quino checkerspot butterfly, Tecate cypress, snowy plover, two species of fairy shrimp, and the Otay Mesa mint,” they said in their petition to the Supreme Court.
A similar coalition is challenging a related legal waiver for border barriers in Texas. The proposed structures would cut through various protected areas, including the National Butterfly Center.
Environmentalists have argued that border barriers are disastrous for ecosystems and wildlife since they disrupt habitats, breeding grounds and migration paths.
Monday’s ruling only affects DHS actions to repair or improve existing border fencing, not Trump’s proposals for a wall.
Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion in border wall funding contributed to the 35-day partial government shutdown that ended on Jan. 25. But authorized spending is slated to expire again on Feb. 15 unless Congress and Trump can agree on spending legislation that involves border security. And the president has raised the possibility of declaring a national emergency to sidestep Congress and build the wall.
Gloria Smith, a managing attorney at the Sierra Club — one of the environmental groups fighting the waivers in California — said her organization would likely be involved in any litigation over a national emergency declaration.
As for the 9th Circuit’s ruling Monday, she said the Sierra Club is in the process of deciding what to do next.
“We’re not saying necessarily the 9th Circuit or any judges got this wrong,” she said. “I think that when Congress passed these statutes in the 90s, it was contemplating specific, real immigration issues. I think the problem is this legislation is so broad that it can fold in what is frankly a racist campaign slogan that turned into some presidential act to build a wall along our southern border without any justification.”
The White House did not provide a comment on Monday's ruling.
Judge Gonzalo Curiel, an Obama appointee in the District Court for the Southern District of California, ruled in Trump’s favor in the case in February 2018. Trump previously argued that Curiel might be biased against him in an unrelated case regarding Trump University, because of his Mexican heritage.
DHS has issued six wide-ranging legal waivers for border infrastructure construction, most recently last week. The case decided Monday only challenged the first two, which were issued by DHS in 2017.
The ruling marked a win for Trump in a court that has become a particular annoyance for the president. The appeals court has blocked several administrative actions, including his new asylum policy and the travel ban for citizens from six Muslim-majority countries.
Read the full story here.
The celebration was big on Twitter:
Newsmax had more:
President Donald Trump scored a rare victory in the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit with a ruling Monday that authorizes building a prototype wall along the U.S.-Mexico border — and lets the Trump administration repair an existing barrier.
In a 2-1 decision issued against the State of California and several environmental groups, the Ninth Circuit upheld a prior opinion by Obama-appointed U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, which determined the Department of Homeland Security was right to try to waive environmental laws in order “to expedite construction” of three separate border barriers near two cities in the Golden State, Law and Crime reported.
Written by Judge M. Margaret McKeown, the decision states the DHS Secretary “authorized the San Diego and Calexico projects because the existing barriers in this areas were built in the 1990s using a fence design ‘that is no longer optimal for Border Patrol operations.’”
The new construction erects a “stronger and taller barrier,” the judge wrote.
In the case, the Ninth Circuit — often criticized by Trump and other conservatives for its “liberal” slant — in this case disagreed with the liberal-leaning plaintiffs: California and multiple environmental organizations.
The decision also spelled out exactly why the environmental claims were dismissed:
“Having determined that the border barrier projects were authorized…” the court wrote. “We have little trouble concluding that the environmental claims were also properly dismissed. The Secretary has waived the legal requirements that California and the environmental groups allege DHS violated…we lack jurisdiction to consider any argument challenging the waivers themselves.”
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