Back in September the secretary of defense gave authorization that would allow Donald Trump to divert $3.6 billion in Pentagon funds to build the border wall. However, on Tuesday in Texas, a federal judge blocked the Trump administration from doing that.
The issue went to court after El Paso County, Texas, and Border Network for Human Rights sued after Mark Esper’s September ruling. They argued that Donald Trump overstepped his authority when he declared a national emergency in order to access additional funds for his border wall. They argued that Trump’s declaration did not meet the criteria of “emergency” as defined by the National Emergencies Act and Judge David Briones of the US District Court for the Western District of Texas agreed with them.
Judge Briones ruled that the Trump administration did not have the proper authority to divert military construction funds, which had been appropriated by Congress.
An attorney for Protect Democracy, a nonpartisan nonprofit that represented the plaintiff’s in the case spoke with reporters after the decision.
“The President’s emergency proclamation was a blatant attempt to grab power from Congress. Today’s order affirms that the President is not a king and that our courts are willing to check him when he oversteps his bounds,” said a lawyer for Protect Democracy, a nonpartisan nonprofit that represented the plaintiffs, in a statement.
Judge Briones; ruling does not apply to the use of other funds that have already been designated for wall construction. Back in July, the Supreme Court approved the use of $2.5 billion of Department of Defense funds to be used for wall construction. The Trump administration allocated close to $10 billion for the border wall, so this latest court ruling only impacts a third of the funds that have been designated for border wall construction. It is expected that the Trump administration will appeal Judge Briones’s decision.