Judge Rejects Congress' Challenge of Border Wall Funding - NECN
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Judge Rejects Congress' Challenge of Border Wall Funding

A federal judge in Oakland, California, ruled May 24 that Trump overstepped his authority and blocked work from beginning on two of the highest-priority, Pentagon-funded wall projects

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    Judge Rejects Congress' Challenge of Border Wall Funding
    Matt York/AP
    This Feb. 17, 2006, file photo shows a fence separating Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, right, and Sonyota, Mexico, running through Lukeville, Ariz.

    A federal judge on Monday denied a House request to prevent President Donald Trump from tapping Defense Department money for his proposed border wall with Mexico, saying Congress lacked authority to sue.

    Trump's victory is muted by a federal ruling in California last month that blocked construction of key sections of the wall. The California case was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of the Sierra Club and Southern Border Communities Coalition.

    U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden, a Trump appointee, wrote that the House's lawsuit was "about whether one chamber of Congress has the 'constitutional means' to conscript the Judiciary in a political turf war with the President over the implementation of legislation."

    McFadden said Congress didn't have authority in this case but that he didn't mean to imply the legislative body could never challenge the president in court over separation of powers.

    Watch: Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Full Opening Statement at House Hearing on Reparations

    [NATL] Watch: Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Full Opening Statement at House Hearing on Reparations

    Ta-Nehisi Coates, author of “The Case for Reparations,” testified before a House Judiciary subcommittee during a hearing on whether the United States should consider compensation for the descendants of slaves. 

    He delivered a rebuttal to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's comments that "no one currently alive was responsible for that," which Coates called a "strange theory of governance." 

    "Well into this century the United States was still paying out pensions to the heirs of civil war soldiers," he said. "We honor treaties that date back some 200 years despite no one being alive who signed those treaties. Many of us would love to be taxed for the things we are solely and individually responsible for. But we are American citizens and this bound to a collective enterprise that extends beyond our individual and personal reach."

    (Published Wednesday, June 19, 2019)

    "An old maxim in politics holds that, 'Where you stand depends on where you sit,'" he wrote. "At law too, whether a plaintiff has standing often depends on where he sits. A seat in Congress comes with many prerogatives, but legal standing to superintend the execution of laws is not among them."

    The Justice Department welcomed the decision, saying the judge "rightly ruled that the House of Representatives cannot ask the judiciary to take its side in political disputes and cannot use federal courts to accomplish through litigation what it cannot achieve using the tools the Constitution gives to Congress."

    A spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Democrats were reviewing the ruling and evaluating whether to appeal.

    A federal judge in Oakland, California, ruled May 24 that Trump overstepped his authority and blocked work from beginning on two of the highest-priority, Pentagon-funded wall projects — one spanning 46 miles (74 kilometers) in New Mexico and another covering 5 miles (8 kilometers) in Yuma, Arizona. The administration plans to appeal the ruling by Haywood Gilliam Jr., an appointee of President Barack Obama.

    At stake is billions of dollars that would allow Trump to make progress on a signature campaign promise heading into his bid for a second term. The administration faces several lawsuits over the emergency declaration but only two sought to block construction during the legal challenge.

    Trump declared a national emergency in February after losing a fight with the Democratic-led House that led to a 35-day government shutdown and identified up to $8.1 billion for wall construction. The funds include $3.6 billion from military construction funds, $2.5 billion from Defense Department counterdrug activities and $600 million from the Treasury Department's asset forfeiture fund.

    Hearing on Reparations Brings Testimony from Actor, Senator, Ex-NFL Player

    [NATL] Hearing on Reparations Brings Testimony from Actor, Senator, Ex-NFL Player

    Watch actor Donald Glover, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and former NFL player Owens Burgess testify before a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing on whether the United States should consider compensation for the descendants of slaves.

     

    (Published Wednesday, June 19, 2019)

    The Defense Department has already transferred the counterdrug money. Patrick Shanahan, the acting defense secretary, is expected to decide any day whether to transfer the military construction funds.