Liberal judge blocks Trump from using billions in military funds to build border wall. POTUS responds.

(FILE PHOTO by public domain/Getty)

On Friday an Obama-appointed judge in California threw another wrench into President Donald Trump’s plans to use a national emergency declaration to obtain the funds needed to construct a wall along the unsecured southern U.S. border.

Last month U.S. District Judge Haywood S. Gilliam Jr. issued an injunction that blocked the Trump administration from using $1 billion in funds from a Pentagon-operated drug interdiction account to construct certain parts of the wall in Arizona and California.

That ruling provoked outrage from the president:

At the time, outspoken conservative commentator Ann Coulter suggested that Attorney General Bill Barr file an emergency appeal and that Trump “just start building” anyway.

In his latest ruling Friday, Gilliam, who was appointed to his post by then-President Barack Hussein Obama in 2014, expanded the $1 billion to $2.5 billion.

“[He] blocked construction on four of the administration’s highest-priority projects on the U.S.-Mexico border spanning 79 miles near El Centro, Calif., and Tucson. The Pentagon had moved to fund the projects using $1.5 billion transferred into a Defense Department counterdrug program from military pay and training accounts,” The Washington Post reported.

“Gilliam last month in part of the same case temporarily stopped another $1 billion transfer for work on stretches totaling 50 miles in eastern New Mexico and Yuma, Ariz.”

The good news is that $4.2 billion of the $6.7 billion that the administration has secured to fund construction of the wall still remains available, and Gilliam reportedly left room for a potential appeal of his latest decisions.

“A federal appeals court is already hearing an appeal of Judge Gilliam’s original ruling halting the first pot of money, and Judge Gilliam cleared the way for an immediate appeal of this new ruling Friday, too,” The Washington Times confirmed.

The bad news is that he also indicated that he may soon block the rest of the available funds.

“Congress considered all of defendants’ proffered needs for border barrier construction, weighed the public interest in such construction against defendants’ request for taxpayer money, and struck what it considered to be the proper balance — in the public’s interest — by making available only $1.375 billion in funding, which was for certain border barrier construction not at issue here,” the judge’s order reads.

The $1.375 billion he cited was the paltry sum that Congress previously allocated for border security.


Led by the Sierra Club, a radical environmentalist group, and the American Civil Liberties Union, the plaintiffs had reportedly argued that “recreational and aesthetic interests” such as “hiking, birdwatching, photography and other professional, scientific, recreational, and aesthetic uses” would have been harmed because of the wall’s construction.

“We’ve seen the damage that the ever-expanding border wall has inflicted on communities and the environment for decades,” the Sierra Club’s managing attorney, Gloria Smith, reportedly said in a statement after the ruling Friday. “Walls divide neighborhoods, worsen dangerous flooding, destroy lands and wildlife, and waste resources that should instead be used on the infrastructure these communities truly need.”

They’d also made the case that Trump had overstepped his constitutional authority.

“Congress was clear in denying funds for Trump’s xenophobic obsession with a wasteful, harmful wall,” ACLU staff attorney Dror Ladin reportedly said in his own post-ruling statement.

“This decision upholds the basic principle that the president has no power to spend taxpayer money without Congress’ approval. We will continue to defend this core principle of our democracy, which the courts have recognized for centuries.”

The use of the term “xenophobic” seems to hint at the partisan nature of the groups’ suit. So does the apparent involvement of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, a Democrat.

“These rulings critically stop President Trump’s illegal money grab to divert $2.5 billion of unauthorized funding for his pet project,” he said. “All President Trump has succeeded in building is a constitutional crisis, threatening immediate harm to our state.”

In his original ruling last month, Gilliam cited the separation of powers as proof that the Trump administration had overstepped its bounds.

“The position that when Congress declines the Executive’s request to appropriate funds, the Executive nonetheless may simply find a way to spend those funds ‘without Congress’ does not square with fundamental separation of powers principles dating back to the earliest days of our Republic,” that ruling read.

The president reportedly responded to Gilliam’s latest ruling by issuing a statement from the G20 Summit on Saturday vowing to appeal it right away.

“We’ll appeal it right away,” he said during a press conference in Japan. “It’s very unfair. We’re building a lot of wall. But we had a ruling just yesterday, late, from a judge in the 9th Circuit. There’s no reason that that should have happened.”



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Vivek Saxena


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