The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday Court handed President Donald Trump a victory by letting his administration redirect $2.5 billion in money approved by Congress for the Pentagon to help build his promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border even though lawmakers refused to provide funding.
The Court overturns lower court injunction, allows Southern Border Wall to proceed. Big WIN for Border Security and the Rule of Law!” Trump tweeted just minutes after the court acted.
Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Clarence Thomas ruled in favor of lifting the Gilliam’s injunction. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor supported the lower court’s decision.
The federal judge had ruled the executive branch could not appropriate money for a purpose not specifically authorized by Congress.
The cases heard by Gilliam were lawsuits brought by the ACLU on behalf of the Sierra Club and Southern Border Communities Coalition, something that became key to the Supreme Court’s decision. In its ruling, the Supreme Court found that private groups are not appropriate parties to challenge the allocation of federal dollars.
The conservative-majority court on a 5-4 vote with the court’s liberals in dissent ,blocked in full a ruling by a federal judge in California barring the Republican president from spending the money on the basis that Congress did not specifically authorize the funds to be spent on the wall project fiercely opposed by Democrats and Mexico’s government.
A brief order explaining the court’s decision said the government “made a sufficient showing” that the groups challenging the decision did not have grounds to bring a lawsuit.
“Today’s decision to permit the diversion of military funds for border wall construction will wall off and destroy communities, public lands, and waters in California, New Mexico, and Arizona,” said Gloria Smith, an attorney with environmental group the Sierra Club, which sued to block the funds.
In a highly unusual move, Trump on Feb. 15 declared a national emergency in a bid to fund the wall without congressional approval, an action Democrats said exceeded his powers under the U.S. Constitution and usurped the authority of Congress.
The administration has said it plans to redirect $6.7 billion from the Departments of Defense and Treasury toward wall construction under the emergency declaration after failing to convince Congress to provide the money, including the $2.5 billion in Pentagon funding. Congress earlier failed to provide $5.7 billion in wall funding demanded by Trump in a showdown in which the president triggered a 35-day partial shutdown of the federal government that ended in January.
Congress has had to approve the appropriation of funds; this role was outlined in Article I, Section 9, Clause 7 of the Constitution, which states: “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.”