The US Supreme Court on Friday handed President Trump a victory by letting his administration redirect $2.5 billion in money approved by Congress for the Pentagon to help build his promised wall along the US-Mexico border.
The conservative-majority court on a 5-4 vote with the court’s liberals in dissent blocked in full a ruling by a federal judge in California barring the Republican president from spending the money on the basis that Congress did not specifically authorise the funds to be spent on the Mexican wall project, which was fiercely opposed by Democrats and Mexico’s government.
President Trump tweeted “Wow! Big VICTORY on the Wall. The United States Supreme Court overturns lower court injunction, allows Southern Border Wall to proceed. Big WIN for Border Security and the Rule of Law!” He tweeted just minutes after the court acted.
A brief order explaining the court’s decision the government said it “made a sufficient showing” that the groups challenging the decision did not have grounds to bring a lawsuit.
What has the reaction been to the ruling?
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said: “This evening’s Supreme Court ruling allowing Donald Trump to steal military funds to spend on a wasteful, ineffective border wall rejected by Congress is deeply flawed. Our Founders designed a democracy governed by the people – not a monarchy.”
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has vowed to seek an expedited decision from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals “to halt the irreversible and imminent damage from Trump’s border wall”.
Gloria Smith, an attorney with environmental group the Sierra Club, which sued to block the funds said: “Today’s decision to permit the diversion of military funds for border wall construction will wall off and destroy communities, public lands, and waters in California, New Mexico, and Arizona.”
In a highly unusual move, Trump on Feb. 15 declared a national emergency in a bid to fund the wall without congressional approval, an action the Democrats said exceeded his powers under the US Constitution and usurped the authority of Congress.
The administration has said it plans to redirect $6.7 billion from the Departments of Defense and Treasury toward wall construction under the emergency declaration after failing to convince Congress to provide the money demanded by Trump in a showdown in which the president triggered a 35-day partial shutdown of the federal government that ended in January.
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