By Alberto Garcia
A federal appeals court ruled Friday that the Trump Administration cannot divert money appropriated by Congress for the military to instead be spent on building a border wall.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals panel ruled Trump’s use of $2.5 billion Congress had appropriated for the military as unconstitution and is unlawful.
“[The Trump Adminstration] lacked independent constitutional authority to authorize the transfer of funds,” the Court ruling contends. “These funds were appropriated for other purposes, and the transfer amounted to drawing funds from the Treasury without authorization by statute and thus violating the Appropriations Clause. Therefore, the transfer of funds here was unlawful.”
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, led the lawsuit filed by several state attorneys general that sued to stop the transfer of the funds from important military projects.
“Today, the court reminded the president — once again — that no one is above the law,” Attorney General Becerra said. “We applaud the court for taking action to immediately halt Trump’s unlawful money grab.”
President Trump moved to grab the military funds last year after Congress refused to appropriate money for the border wall that has been a centerpiece of Trump’s campaign and administration. Trump declared a national emergency at the border in order to access the money from the Pentagon which would have otherwise funded construction projects, equipment, and personnel expenditures in the military.
The Appeals court upheld a district court ruling from last year where U.S. District Court Judge Haywood S. Gilliam Jr. found that the Administration failed to prove the money was needed for “unforeseen military requirements.”
The Ninth Circuit argued that problems with drug smuggling at the border is “a long standing problem” and not “unanticipated or unexpected.”
The Trump Administration will most likely appeal this decision to the US Supreme Court.