Court rules Democratic lawsuit protesting $8-million transfer of military money can move forward
HOUSTON, Tex. (KYMA, KECY) - A federal appeals court on Friday breathed new life into a lawsuit challenging the use of military money for President Donald Trump's border wall.
Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives filed suit after President Trump transferred $8-million from the Department of Defense to border wall construction.
The U.S. Constitution grants Congress sole power over federal spending. Democrats argue the unauthorized transfer cut it out of its "constitutionally indispensable legislative role."
The appeals court agreed. The ruling states that Congress' power to control appropriations “is a core structural protection of the Constitution — a wall, so to speak, between the branches of government that prevents encroachment of the House’s and Senate’s power of the purse.”
Representative Raúl Grijalva, (R-Ariz.) applauded the appeals court's decision. In a statement released Friday afternoon he wrote:
“The Constitution enumerates the separation of powers for a reason. It is Congress that appropriates funds, not the President. I will keep fighting to ensure that the Trump Administration does not violate the law to circumvent the will of Congress in the future.”-Statement from Rep. Raúl Grijalva, (R-Ariz.)
The case now goes back to the same district court judge who rejected the suit last year. U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden ruled in April that Democrats lacked the authority to filed suit.
House Democrats sued three months after the end of the longest government shutdown in U.S. history. Trump's demand for border wall funding is blamed for triggering that shutdown.
The president later signed a budget bill that allocated $1.4-billion to wall construction. However, that fell far short of the $5.7-billion he wanted.
Trump then declared a national emergency to secure the money needed to proceed with the barricade. His order transferred funding from military housing and drug enforcement programs to wall construction.
Rep. Grijalva said, in his statement, the president broke the law.
“The court reaffirmed what we’ve known all along. President Trump violated the Constitution and illegally stole congressionally-appropriated funds to build his border wall after Congress refused to fully fund it. Every mile built of the wall was illegally funded by the President’s corruption, and I’m pleased the court saw the Trump Administration’s legal rationales for the bogus excuses they were."-Statement from Rep. Raúl Grijalva, (R-Ariz.)
The U.S. Department of Justice has not yet commented on the ruling.