Court frees president to use military funds for wall

President Trump’s effort to secure the southern border with walls, fencing and other barriers took a step forward Wednesday with a court’s ruling allowing him to reallocate $3.6 billion designated for military construction funds.

The lawsuit has yet to be resolved, but the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals lifted a block placed by a lower court, the Washington Examiner reported.

The injunction was issued by District Judge David Briones in a case brought by El Paso, Texas, and the Border Network for Human Rights.

The brief ruling from the 5th Circuit noted the Supreme Court recently stayed a similar injunction from another circuit.

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“The government is entitled to the same relief here for, among other reasons, the substantial likelihood that appellees lack Article III standing,” the judges wrote.

The ruling set the case on an ordinary appeal schedule.

The sole dissent, by Judge Stephen Higginson, said, “This constellation of sensitive and complex legal questions, all in the context of a nationwide injunction, warrant expediting the appeal for prompt consideration of the merits.

“Although I agree with my colleagues that this matter presents ‘a substantial case on the merits’ and involves a ‘serious legal question…’ I am unable to agree, without focused panel deliberation and discussion — possibly aided by dialogue with counsel — that the government presently has shown either a likelihood of success on the merits or irreparable harm in the absence of a stay.”

The president noted his victory on Twitter.

“The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals just reversed a lower court decision & gave us the go ahead to build one of the largest sections of the desperately needed Southern Border Wall, Four Billion Dollars. Entire Wall is under construction or getting ready to start!”

The U.S. Supreme Court previously said it would allow the president to reprogram $2.5 billion in Pentagon funding to start wall construction.

The court said in that case that the government “has made a sufficient showing at this stage that the plaintiffs have no cause of action to obtain review.”

The president declared a national emergency at the southern border last February after Congress refused to allow money for border security. Administration officials then announced plans to reprogram $600 million from the Treasury Department’s forfeiture fund; $2.5 billion from Defense Department counter-narcotics activities; and $3.6 billion from military construction projects to finance construction of the wall.

The Supreme Court ruled on the $2.5 billion, while the 5th Circuit’s ruling was on the $3.6 billion.

The Supreme Court decision was regarded as a statement that the environmentalists and others who oppose the border security do not have legal standing.

Democrats in Congress filed their own lawsuit against the president, but a federal judge tossed it out, ruling it was a political fight that the courts should not resolve.


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