A federal judge rejected a request by House Democrats to block President Donald Trump from using $6.1 billion of unappropriated funds to construct a border wall.
In his 24-page opinion, Washington D.C., District Court Judge Trevor McFadden stated that the court did not have the authority to settle the dispute and that the House is not able to block Trump’s plan to spend the funds in that manner.
“This case presents a close question about the appropriate role of the Judiciary in resolving disputes between the other two branches of the federal government. To be clear, the court does not imply that Congress may never sue the Executive to protect its powers,” he wrote.
House leaders issued a challenge in federal court against Trump’s decision to declare a national emergency in order to secure $6.7 billion to construct an expanded physical barrier at the border between the United States and Mexico, stating it violated the Appropriations Clause of the Constitution.
McFadden ruled that the House did not have the authority to issue such a challenge.
“While the Constitution bestows upon members of the House many powers, it does not grant them standing to hale the executive branch into court claiming a dilution of Congress’s legislative authority,” he wrote.
He added, however, that House Democrats have other avenues outside of the courts to issue a challenge.
“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. And the fact is also exemplified by the many other cases across the country challenging the administration’s planned construction of the border wall.”
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