House Can’t Sue Trump Over Border Wall Funds

The House does not have the power to haul the Trump administration to court to challenge diversion of funds to pay for the border wall, a federal judge ruled Monday.

While the Constitution grants Congress many powers, “it does not grant them standing to hale the Executive Branch into court claiming a dilution of Congress’s legislative authority,” wrote Judge Trevor McFadden in DC.

One chamber of Congress can’t “conscript the Judiciary in a political turf war with the President” over the implementation of legislation, McFadden wrote.

The lawsuit grew out of a protracted public fight over funding for construction of a barrier wall along the Mexico border. Following a partial government shutdown in December 2018, Congress provided $1.375 billion for new border fencing in the Rio Grand Valley. But the President wanted $5.7 billion for the wall.

On the day the law was signed, Trump declared a national emergency on the southern border and took funds from other programs to add to wall funding.

The House voted to veto the declaration of an emergency but the Senate refused to follow so the veto move failed.

The House sued but did not challenge the emergency declaration. Instead the lawsuit alleged violation of the Appropriations Clause of the Constitution.

McFadden concludes, “the court declines to take sides in this fight between the House and the President.”

McFadden was appointed to the court by Trump in 2017.

Case: US House of Representatives v. Mnuchin, 19-cv-969

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