Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Federal Court Blocks Trump Plan to Spend Military Funds on Border Wall

Those of us who took "government" and "civics" courses in high school - back in the "olden days" in the view of some - learned that Congress enacts the laws and authorizes federal government spending and that the president and the rest of the executive branch are tasked with implementing those laws and implementing the spending enacted by Congress. Apparently, either Der Trumpenf├╝hrer missed out on those classes or, more likely, he views himself as above the law - a monarch, perhaps.  El Paso County in Texas sued to block Trumps effort to divert $3.6 billion in funding allocated by Congress for military construction and projects to build his ridiculous wall (which where constructed is being regularly shown to to not be able to keep refugees out).  Today, a federal court - the other co-equal branch of the federal government - ruled the action was illegal and granted a permanent injunction to block the misapplication of the Congress' allocated funds.   The racist Trump/Pence regime will likely appeal, but the higher courts ought to affirm the district court ruling if they apply the law and do not improperly play politics. The Washington Post has details:
A federal judge in El Paso on Tuesday blocked the Trump administration’s plan to pay for border barrier construction with $3.6 billion in military funds, ruling that the administration does not have the authority to divert money appropriated by Congress for a different purpose.
The Trump administration was planning to use those funds to build 175 miles of steel barriers, and the court’s permanent injunction is a setback for Trump’s pledge to erect 450 linear miles of fencing by the end of next year.
District Court Judge David Briones, a Bill Clinton appointee, said in his ruling that the administration’s attempt to reprogram military construction funds by emergency proclamation was unlawful and that the plaintiffs in the case were entitled to a permanent injunction halting the government.
[T]he ruling affects roughly one-third of the money the president plans to spend on his signature project. Briones’s decision does not apply to other money available to the administration, including reprogrammed military counternarcotics funds.
The ruling marked the first instance of a local jurisdiction successfully suing to block construction of Trump’s border barrier.
El Paso County, one of the two plaintiffs in the suit, had argued that the new barrier was unwanted by the community and would inflict permanent harm on its reputation as a welcoming, cross-border place.
Kristy Parker, an attorney with the nonprofit group Protect Democracy who represented the plaintiffs, said the decision means [Trump] the president cannot spend money on the project that wasn’t authorized by Congress.
“The president can’t use the National Emergencies Act to override a congressional appropriations decision,” Parker said. “That specifically means he cannot use funds appropriated for military construction and divert it for use to build border barriers.”
Kudos to the federal judge.

No comments: