Appeals court strikes down funding for border wall

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled 2-1 on June 26 that President Donald Trump lacked the constitutional authority to transfer Department of Defense (DoD) funds for use in the construction of a wall along the Mexican border. The court found that the transfer of $2.5 billion circumvented Congress, which had previously denied requests for the funding. The panel affirmed a district court’s judgment, "holding that budgetary transfers of funds for the construction of a wall on the southern border of the United States in California and New Mexico were not authorized under the Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2019."

The panel also found that "Congress has repeatedly declined to provide the amount of funding requested by the President" and that there was no "unforeseen military requirement" to justify the transfer.

The court also ruled that California and New Mexico, which are among the 20 states involved in the suit, had legitimate fear of "particularized and concrete injuries,” providing sufficient legal standing for them to continue with their claims.

The court additionally released an opinion in Sierra Club v. Donald Trump, ruling that the Sierra Club and Southern Border Communities Coalition could also sue over the diversions for the border wall.

However, the rulings may ultimately be a hollow victory for the plaintiffs as the US Supreme Court has already allowed the $2.5 billion to be spent during litigation, and has suggested that the nonprofits likely did not have sufficient standing to sue.

From Jurist, June 28. Used with permission.

Note: The Sierra Club case is pending in a district court in Northern California.