The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday said that President Donald Trump’s use of emergency powers to distribute millions of dollars in funding for the construction of a southern border is illegal.
The court upheld a December 2019 district court judgment in favor of a request from the Sierra Club and the Southern Border Communities Coalition against Defense Secretary Mark Esper, acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, and others.
After Congress provided Trump $1.3 billion instead of his requested $5.7 billion for wall funding, Trump invoked the National Emergencies Act and declared an emergency at the southern border.
The panel, in a 2-1 decision, found the allocation of funds to be unlawful and went against the Constitution’s separation of powers clause.
“Particularly in the context of this case, where Congress declined to fund the very projects at issue and attempted to terminate the declaration of a national emergency (twice), we cannot interpret the statute to give the Executive Branch unfettered discretion to divert funds to any land it deems under military jurisdiction,” wrote Chief Circuit Judge Sidney Thomas, a Clinton appointee, in the ruling.