The past few days have been victorious for President Donald Trump.
Not only did he reach a surprise landmark asylum deal with Guatemala yesterday, but the Supreme Court also handed Trump another huge win when they granted him permission to use $2.5 billion in military funds to help build the border wall!
President Trump announced the win himself on Twitter:
The Daily Caller has more details on the Supreme Court ruling in favor of Trump and his plans to build the wall:
The Supreme Court allowed President Donald Trump to reprogram $2.5 billion in Pentagon funds to start construction on 100 miles of border wall in a late Friday order.
The five conservative justices voted with the government in full. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan indicated their full dissent. Justice Stephen Breyer proposed a compromise in a partial dissent.
“The government has made a sufficient showing at this stage that the plaintiffs have no cause of action to obtain review,” the Court’s order reads.
President Trump declared a national emergency at the southern border on Feb. 15 after Congress refused to appropriate sufficient funds for border barriers. Pursuant to that proclamation, administration officials announced plans to reprogram $600 million from the Treasury Department’s forfeiture fund; $2.5 billion from Defense Department counter-narcotics activities; and $3.6 billion from military construction projects to finance construction of the wall.
The $2.5 billion for counter-drug efforts were at issue in Friday’s case. That sum was slated to finance fencing in Arizona, California, and New Mexico. Government lawyers said those projects are priorities for the Department of Homeland Security, as they are meant to deter narcotic trafficking in major drug smuggling corridors. The administration moved the funds pursuant to a transfer statute that allows such reallocations to address “unforeseen needs,” provided they have not been “denied by the Congress.”
A plaintiffs coalition of environmentalists led by the Sierra Club sued the administration to stop the reassignment. The plaintiffs said they have “recreational and aesthetic interests” in habitats near the border, like “hiking, birdwatching, [and] photography.” The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) represents the plaintiffs.
In court papers, the administration said the green groups do not have standing to bring a lawsuit, arguing the transfer statute does not protect their “recreational and aesthetic interests.”
U.S. District Judge Haywood Gilliam sided with the plaintiffs in June and barred the government from reprogramming the contested funds. A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed on a 2-1 vote July 3, noting Congress furnished just $1.375 billion for border barriers, instead of the $5.7 billion the president requested. By the court’s reading, that meant the wall projects funded by the $2.5 billion had been “denied by the Congress.”
“As for the public interest, we conclude that it is best served by respecting the Constitution’s assignment of the power of the purse to Congress, and by deferring to Congress’s understanding of the public interest as reflected in its repeated denial of more funding for border barrier construction,” Judge Michelle Friedland wrote.
Not surprisingly, Democrats are up in arms over the court ruling!
Nancy Pelosi tweeted out this after the court granted Trump the funds:
The Washington Post also had the following to say about Dem reactions to the ruling:
A split Supreme Court said Friday night that the Trump administration could proceed with its plan to use $2.5 billion in Pentagon funds to build part of the president’s wall project along the southern border.
The court’s conservatives set aside a lower-court ruling for the Sierra Club and a coalition of border communities that said reallocating Defense Department money would violate federal law.
Friday’s unsigned ruling came in response to an emergency filing from the administration during the court’s summer recess. The majority said the government “made a sufficient showing at this stage” that private groups may not be the proper plaintiffs to challenge the transfer of money.
The court’s action is a stay of the injunction issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit on a 2-to-1 vote, and the litigation continues. The administration wants to finalize contracts for the work before the fiscal year ends Sept. 30.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr., Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh voted to lift the 9th Circuit injunction. Three justices — Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan — would have left it in place.
Justice Stephen G. Breyer proposed a compromise to which no one signed on: allow the government to finalize contracts for the project but not begin construction.
In a tweet after the court’s announcement, President Trump declared the development a “Big WIN for Border Security and the Rule of Law!”
The groups opposing the wall construction noted that the litigation continues.
“This is not over. We will be asking the federal appeals court to expedite the ongoing appeals proceeding to halt the irreversible and imminent damage from Trump’s border wall,” Dror Ladin, staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project, said in a statement. The ACLU represented the groups.
“Our Constitution’s separation of powers will be permanently harmed should Trump get away with pillaging military funds for a xenophobic border wall Congress denied,” Ladin said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) also criticized the decision Friday night. “For months, the President has sought to undermine our military readiness and steal from our men and women in uniform to waste billions on a wasteful, ineffective wall that Congress on a bipartisan basis has repeatedly refused to fund. The Supreme Court’s decision tonight to allow President Trump to defy the bipartisan will of the Congress and proceed with contracts to spend billions of dollars on his wall undermines the Constitution and the law,” she said in a statement.