- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 10, 2019

A federal judge in Texas issued a permanent injunction Tuesday blocking President Trump from using billions of dollars Congress earmarked for the Defense Department to instead build his border wall.

Judge David Briones, a Clinton appointee to the bench, had previously ruled Mr. Trump’s move illegal, but had given both sides a chance to argue over what the remedy should be.

“Because defendants’ actions are unlawful and the people’s representatives — Congress — declined to augment the border wall budget as defendants attempt, the public interest would be served by halting them,” the judge wrote.

Hours before Tuesday’s ruling the Justice Department had filed its notice of appeal of the original ruling, seeking to have the more friendly confines of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals weigh in.

The injunction applies to only some of the funds Mr. Trump sought to redirect from the Pentagon budget to his border wall.

Judge Briones said he would not halt billions of dollars the Supreme Court already said could flow, while cases are being argued in other courts.

But the judge did halt $3.6 billion Mr. Trump sought to move based on his declaration of a border national emergency.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the ruling “a victory for the rule of law, our Constitution and our American democracy.”

“The president’s plan to cancel military construction projects to pay for his ineffective, wasteful wall would have made America less safe by hurting our military readiness and stealing from military families,” Mrs. Pelosi said.

Congress approved $1.375 billion for border wall construction in fiscal year 2019. Mr. Trump signed that bill, but then immediately declared a border emergency and shifted more than $6 billion from Pentagon construction and drug interdiction accounts toward wall building.

He argued that Congress never explicitly ordered him not to shift the money.

Democrats on Capitol Hill say he’s got it backwards. Since Congress never explicitly authorized him to spend the extra money, he was violating the constitution and the law by doing it.

Judge Briones is the latest lower-court judge to side with congressional Democrats.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

Copyright © 2022 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide