In April, House Democrats sued the Trump administration claiming the President was violating Congress’ constitutional authority to appropriate funds by re-allocating money for his border wall. Today, a federal judge rejected that claim:
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.
Fox News reports that Judge McFadden found Congress had other means to address Trump’s spending if it was so inclined:
McFadden noted in particular that Democrats retained the power to modify or even repeal the appropriations law if they wanted to “exempt future appropriations” from the Trump administration’s reach…
“Congress has several political arrows in its quiver to counter perceived threats to its sphere of power,” McFadden 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 continued: “The House retains the institutional tools necessary to remedy any harm caused to this power by the Administration’s actions. Its Members can, with a two-thirds majority, override the President’s veto of the resolution voiding the National Emergency Declaration. They did not. It can amend appropriations laws to expressly restrict the transfer or spending of funds for a border wall under Sections 284 and 2808. Indeed, it appears to be doing so.”
Back in February, President Trump issued an emergency declaration on the border and announced his intent to redirect money that had already been appropriated by Congress toward the construction of the wall. Democrats, with some help from Republicans, passed a bill aimed at blocking President Trump from spending the money in March. President Trump vetoed the bill the day after it passed the Senate. It was the first veto of his presidency. With that effort having failed, Democrats sued the administration.
Judge McFadden himself expected the case would be appealed regardless of what decision he reached. “I’m not sure how much necessarily our views will carry the day for the courts above us,” he said at a hearing last month.