Published: Mon, July 01, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Gilliam blocks more funding for Trump's border wall

Gilliam blocks more funding for Trump's border wall

President Donald Trump appealed a judge's decision that blocked his administration from using $2.5 billion that was planned to be used for anti-drug activities to build a wall on the southern border.

The rulings address lawsuits against the border wall brought by the Sierra Club and other groups, and by the states of California and New Mexico, respectively.

A federal judge on Friday expanded a ban on construction of President Trump's signature southern border wall that would have used money secured under his declaration of a national emergency, but that Congress never approved for the goal.

"These rulings critically stop President Trump's illegal money grab to divert $2.5 billion of unauthorized funding for his pet project", Becerra said.

Trump called the rulings a "disgrace", in a news conference following the G-20 global economic summit in Osaka, Japan, "We're immediately appealing it and we think we'll win the appeal", the president said.

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Gilliam said the administration's plan to transfer counterdrug funding appeared to be illegal because the law the administration invoked applies only to "unforeseen" needs, whereas Trump had demanded funding since early 2018 and even in his campaign.

U.S. Department of Justice lawyers said in a court filing that they were formally appealing Friday's ruling to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. But he also ruled that because the administration has yet to propose any projects beyond the six at issue in the lawsuit, a broader injunction against border barrier projects altogether is unwarranted.

Since then, the judge wrote that the Trump administration has presented no evidence to cause a re-evaluation of the earlier decision. "This decision upholds the basic principle that the president has no pwer to spend taxpayer money without Congress' approval".

"Because no new factual or legal arguments persuade the court that its analysis in the preliminary injunction order was wrong, [the groups'] likelihood of success on the merits has ripened into actual success", Gilliam said in his ruling. "We will continue to defend this core principle of our democracy, which the courts have recognized for centuries". Gilliam is once again citing "Congress's "absolute" control over federal expenditures" in his reasoning, but these weren't requests for new allocations of funding. "Absent such authority, Defendants' position on these factors boils down to an argument that the Court should not enjoin conduct found to be unlawful because the ends justify the means".

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