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U.S. Appeals Court Lifts Block on Using Military Funds for Border Wall

U.S. Appeals Court Lifts Block on Using Military Funds for Border Wall

Two judges who halted the block were appointed by Republican presidents; the dissenter is an Obama appointment.

2020 is sure starting out with a lot of win for President Donald Trump.

Early last month, U.S. District Judge David Briones barred the Trump administration from using $3.6 billion in military construction funds to pay for the border wall.

This week, a U.S. federal appeals court stayed the ruling that blocked the use of those funds to build a wall along the country’s border with Mexico.

The New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted a stay pending the Trump administration’s appeal of a Dec. 10 decision by a federal judge that barred the funding transfer.

In a 2-1 ruling, the panel noted that the U.S. Supreme Court had stayed an injunction in a similar border wall case from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The court also said there was a “substantial likelihood” that the parties challenging the funding transfer – the county of El Paso, Texas, and the Border Network for Human Rights – lacked standing to sue the Trump administration.

It is interesting to note that the two Republican presidents (Reagan and Trump) appointed the two judges who halted the block. The dissenting judge is an Obama appointment.

Judges Edith Jones, an appointee of President Ronald Reagan, and Andrew Oldham, a Trump appointee, also said there was a “substantial likelihood” that the plaintiffs in the Texas-based suit — the City of El Paso and the Border Network for Human Rights — lacked legal standing to pursue their claims that Trump’s planned spending violated appropriations limits imposed by Congress.

Judge Stephen Higginson, an appointee of President Barack Obama, said he was not convinced that the Justice Department had a winning case or that there was great urgency justifying the stay.

“Although I agree with my colleagues that this matter presents ‘a substantial case on the merits’ and involves a ‘serious legal question…’ I am unable to agree, without focused panel deliberation and discussion — possibly aided by dialogue with counsel — that the government presently has shown either a likelihood of success on the merits or irreparable harm in the absence of a stay,” Higginson wrote in his dissent.

The portion of the border wall that has already done up seems to be working:

Three people were rescued from atop the border wall in San Diego Sunday evening, Border Patrol said Tuesday.

According to a news release, agents spotted three people perched on top of the wall near Otay Mesa around midnight January 5.

A man and two women reportedly tried to enter the U.S. illegally by climbing the wall amid dense fog. “The trio became stuck at the top of the wet, slippery wall after smugglers abandoned them,” the agency said.

Between the Iran situation and impeachment theater, there should be plenty to keep the Democrats distracted as Majority Leader Mitch McConnell shepherds more judicial appointments through the Senate. Those judges are clearly a vital barrier to illegal entry in their own right.


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Correct me if I’m wrong, because I haven’t been following all that closely, but I think:

1) The original injunction delayed the use of funds to build the wall until now.
2) The spending omnibus that Trump just signed explicitly limits the use of funds to build the wall.

So the original injunction, though now correctly overturned, succeeded in preventing the building of the wall.

Oh yeah, the we win again the wall is being built schtick. This one never gets old.

2smartforlibs | January 9, 2020 at 10:21 am

Conservative judges understand Title 8 and Title 10 liberal judges social engineer from the bench.

I never thought the wall was that big a deal. Illegal immigration has been curtailed by other means.

    mailman in reply to Petrushka. | January 9, 2020 at 11:12 am

    It’s a huge deal. A physical barrier is a critical component of an over all system of border defence that includes both soft and hard barriers.

    The reason Delocrats hate physical barriers is because it makes the aift barriers much harder to get to which are significantly easier to get around.

    jack burns in reply to Petrushka. | January 9, 2020 at 12:04 pm

    It’s been curtailed by winter.

    JusticeDelivered in reply to Petrushka. | January 10, 2020 at 3:17 pm

    I disagree, the wall is an important part of an overall policy. Beyond that, we need to drive illegals out of America. Contrary to all the hype, they cost taxpayers dearly.

Bar, stay, halt, block – these all seem like double, triple, quadruple negatives to me. I’ve got semantic whiplash. Can anyone unwind this for me??

    Close The Fed in reply to Sally MJ. | January 9, 2020 at 1:14 pm

    Sally, I haven’t read the decisions, but as I understand it, this is what’s happened.

    The original trial judge, at the federal district court level, issued an order preventing the President from transferring some D.O.D. $$ to use for a border fence, claiming the president lacked authority to do it.

    The government appealed that order to the federal circuit court of appeals (5th Circuit).

    The appeals court reversed the trial judge, and found that the based upon another SCOTUS ruling, the president probably does have the power to transfer the $$, and the people who filed suit probably didn’t have the right to file a lawsuit against it in the first place. So, while the trial court probably used the word “enjoined” the president from transferring the $$, the appeals court stopped or “stayed” the lower court’s order.

    Therefore, the prez can do what he wants, until another court rules on it, or unless the 5th circuit has an en banc hearing on it, and in effect reverses itself. Don’t see that happening.

    So now the complainers get to ask SCOTUS to rule on it. Maybe they will, or maybe they will in effect affirm the 5th circuit, simply by declining to grant an appeal from the 5th circuit to SCOTUS.

    Hope this helps.

    Close The Fed in reply to Sally MJ. | January 9, 2020 at 1:43 pm

    Also, it just occurred to me:

    The 5th circuit court of appeals probably stopped the lower court’s refusal to allow Trump to use the money, PENDING an appeal.

    Not having read the latest ruling, I’m unsure WHO has the burden to appeal, the original complainers, or the administration….

Of course there are Obama judges. Obama must have extracted some sort of pledge from every judge he appointed, because they have consistently ruled against President Trump even in the most straightforward cases despite existing law and precedents. Some of their rulings have been so egregious that the judge should be removed from the bench.

JusticeDelivered | January 10, 2020 at 2:12 pm

We could have hundreds of thousands rechargeable drones, which return to docking stations to recharge, 80% surveillance, 20% antipersonnel.