Judge rejects House Democrats’ attempt to block border wall
A federal judge in Washington on Monday denied a request by House Democrats to block President Donald Trump from transferring funds from appropriated accounts to construct his wall.
Judge Trevor McFadden said the House lacks standing to bring the challenge and also he does not believe the court should step into the fight between the President and Congress.
“The Court declines to take sides in this fight between the House and the President,” McFadden wrote.
“This case presents a close question about the appropriate role of the Judiciary in resolving disputes between the other two branches of the Federal Government. To be clear, the court does not imply that Congress may never sue the Executive to protect its powers,” he added.
McFadden also said lawmakers have more options than the court system to fight the President’s proposals.
“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. And this fact is also exemplified by the many other cases across the country challenging the administration’s planned construction of the border wall.”
McFadden, a Trump appointee, held a nearly three-hour hearing on the matter last month.
Earlier this year, the Democratic-led House joined several organizations in filing a lawsuit against the President’s national emergency declaration.
The lawsuit argues Trump’s choice to move funds for the wall violated the Appropriations Clause of the Constitution, which gives Congress power over the designation of federal spending. It asks McFadden to block spending of money transferred for the wall in addition to future transfers.
The suit received notable support from former members of Congress and former House general counsels from both sides of the aisle.
A bipartisan group of more than 100 former House members signed an amicus brief that stated, “Rarely in our Nation’s history has the Executive Branch launched such an assault on Congress’s exclusive legislative powers.”
“Without action by this Court to prevent the Administration’s usurpation of congressional authority, the unchecked expansion of the Executive’s power at the expense of the Legislative Branch will threaten our democracy,” the brief said.