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For Second Time This Week, Judge Blocks Trump’s Use of Military Funds to Build Border Wall

A federal court in California on Wednesday issued a nationwide injunction blocking the Trump administration from diverting money allocated by Congress for military construction projects to be used in funding a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. The decision’s reasoning was strikingly similar to a Tuesday ruling from a federal court in Texas.

U.S. District Judge Haywood Gilliam reasoned that President Donald Trump’s attempt to re-allocate billions of dollars away from the military construction fund by issuing an emergency proclamation in February, unlawfully circumvented the will of Congress which had restricted wall funding to $1.375 billion, Bloomberg reported.

“The executive has made plain its determination to nonetheless proceed with the construction by any means necessary, notwithstanding Congress’ contrary exercise of its constitutionally-absolute power of the purse,” Judge Gilliam said in Wednesday’s ruling. “As Justice Frankfurter explained long ago, that position both disregards the clear will of Congress and disrespects the whole legislative process and the separation of powers enshrined in the Constitution.”

Gilliam reportedly placed his Wednesday ruling on hold pending an appeal from the Trump administration.

U.S. District Judge David Briones of El Paso, Texas on Tuesday similarly ruled that President Trump’s emergency proclamation violated funding restrictions put in place by Congress limiting the amount of federal dollars that could be used for the construction of a border wall.

Briones ruled, however, that the Trump administration acted within the confines of federal law in diverting an additional $2.5 billion originally earmarked for a drug interdiction program to the border wall.

The Trump administration has argued that the president had the authority to declare a national emergency at his discretion to divert funds for the barrier.

A U.S. district judge in California last summer issued an injunction preventing the administration from using the drug interdiction funds for border wall construction. But the U.S. Supreme Court in July stayed that injunction, finding that the Trump administration could continue with wall construction while the case worked its way through the courts. That case is currently waiting to be heard in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

[image via Jeff J Mitchell – Pool /Getty Images]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.