HOUSTON – A federal appeals court in the United States on Friday revived a House legal objection to President Donald Trump’s decision to use Department of Defense funds to build a border wall after Democratic lawmakers refused to provide the resources that he requested.
The District of Columbia Court of Appeals reversed a lower court ruling that dismissed the lawsuit by Democratic representatives. The appeals panel said the lower house had been mistakenly deprived “of its constitutionally indispensable legislative role” when Trump unilaterally diverted an estimated $ 8 billion to build the wall.
The power of Congress to allocate expenditures “is a key protection in the Constitution, a wall, it might be said, between the branches of government that prevents the usurpation of the power of funds from the Senate and the House of Representatives,” the panel wrote.RELATED
The case now returns to the court of Trump-appointed Federal Judge Trevor McFadden, who in April 2009 ruled that Congress lacked the authority to sue.
The Justice Department did not immediately comment.
Democrats in the lower house sued three months after the end of the longest government shutdown in American history, sparked by Trump’s demand for funding to build the wall.
The president later signed a funding bill that included $ 1.4 billion for border barriers, less than the $ 5.7 billion he had demanded from Congress. But then he declared a national emergency to secure billions more in funds denied by the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, diverting money originally intended for military housing and anti-drug programs.
The move sparked several lawsuits, including one from the lower house against the transfer of money for military construction projects. But the Supreme Court in July declined to stop construction of the wall while the case continued. The four liberal justices of the court dissented. One of them, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, passed away on September 18.
The appeals panel consisted of Judge David B. Sentelle, appointed by President Ronald Reagan, and two Barack Obama nominees: Patricia Millett and Robert Wilkins.
Building the border wall was one of the central promises of Trump’s 2016 campaign, although he said Mexico would pay for the construction.
The Border Patrol says it has completed 321 miles of wall during the Trump administration, though the majority is replacement of existing barriers.