House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her Democratic colleagues can do nothing but sit back and watch as President Trump continues to use emergency funds to construct a new border wall, a judge ruled on Monday.
Democrats argued that Trump “flouted the fundamental separation-of-powers principles and usurped for itself legislative power specifically vested by the Constitution in Congress,” Fox News reports.
The judge said it was not Trump, but Democrats that were circumventing the political process:
Washington, D.C., district court Judge Trevor McFadden threw out House Democrats’ lawsuit seeking an injunction against President Trump’s emergency border wall funding reallocation, saying that the matter is fundamentally a political dispute and that the politicians lack standing to make a legal case.
Trump had declared a national emergency this past February over the humanitarian crisis at the southern border, following Congress’ failure to fund his border wall legislatively. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and House Democrats then filed suit in April, charging that Trump was “stealing from appropriated funds” by moving $6.7 billion from other projects toward border wall construction.
McFadden wrote: “This case presents a close question about the appropriate role of the Judiciary in resolving disputes between the other two branches of the Federal Government. To be clear, the court does not imply that Congress may never sue the Executive to protect its powers. The Court declines to take sides in this fight between the House and the President.”
Here’s more on his decision, from Fox News:
McFadden began by focusing on two guiding Supreme Court cases he called “lodestars”– the 2015 case Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, and the 1997 case Raines v. Byrd.
Democrats’ dispute was more similar to the one in the Raines case, McFadden wrote. Under the framework and factors considered in Raines — including how similar matters have been handled historically, and the availability of other remedies besides litigation — McFadden ruled that House Democrats lacked standing.
Concerning past historical practice, the Trump administration argued in its brief that when Congress was concerned about “unauthorized Executive Branch spending in the aftermath of World War I, it responded not by threatening litigation, but by creating the General Accounting Office.” The judge cited that argument approvingly in his opinion, calling it “persuasive.”
“Congress has several political arrows in its quiver to counter perceived threats to its sphere of power,” McFadden said in his opinion, Fox News continued. “These tools show that this lawsuit is not a last resort for the House. And this fact is also exemplified by the many other cases across the country challenging the administration’s planned construction of the border wall.”
And, McFadden said: “The House retains the institutional tools necessary to remedy any harm caused to this power by the Administration’s actions. Its Members can, with a two-thirds majority, override the President’s veto of the resolution voiding the National Emergency Declaration. They did not. It can amend appropriations laws to expressly restrict the transfer or spending of funds for a border wall under Sections 284 and 2808. Indeed, it appears to be doing so.”
BizPac Review described the judge’s decision as a “rare defeat in the courts” for Pelosi & company.