Judge dismisses House suit against wall funding
by Kyle Ziemnick
Posted 6/04/19, 11:02 am
WASHINGTON—A federal judge on Monday rejected the U.S. House of Representatives’ attempt to block President Donald Trump’s transfer of Defense Department money to fund construction of a wall at the U.S. southern border. The president redirected the money as part of a national emergency declaration in February following a lengthy budget battle and partial government shutdown. Trump requested a total of $6.1 billion from the Pentagon, but acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has yet to decide whether to transfer about $3.6 billion of the total. The money was originally designated for military construction.
The House and Senate passed a resolution to overturn the national emergency declaration in March, but the president vetoed it. Congress did not have enough votes to override the veto, and the Democratic-majority House sued to try to stop the White House from shifting the funds. Several other lawsuits challenge the emergency declaration.
“This is a case about whether one chamber of Congress has the ‘constitutional means’ to conscript the judiciary in a political turf war with the president over the implementation of legislation,” U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden wrote in his opinion. McFadden, a Trump appointee, said the judicial branch of the government should only intervene in separation-of-powers disputes as a last resort. “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.” House leadership is evaluating whether to appeal the decision.
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Kyle is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute.