Friday, September 20, 2019

California and New Mexico ask judge to block Trump from using military funds for the wall

California and New Mexico are asking a federal judge to permanently block President Trump from using military funds to build a border wall in those states.

In a court filing on yesterday, attorneys for the states asked Judge Haywood Gilliam to rule against the Trump administration in their efforts to build a border wall in their states, claiming that it will cause lasting harm to the environment and will infringe upon those states’ rights. The filing notes that Gilliam found in a prior ruling that states seeking to stop Trump from using military funds for a border wall are likely to win their lawsuit.

Yesterday’s motion relates to $2.5 billion in DOD funds that the president has tapped to build the border wall. “California and New Mexico both request that this Court declare that the transfer and use of DOD funds toward Defendants’ proposed border wall is unlawful and unconstitutional,” the court document reads, calling for Gilliam to issue an injunction.

“Absent an injunction, [the administration] will be unconstrained in their bypassing of the States’ environmental laws and regulations in constructing border barriers, infringing California’s and New Mexico’s sovereign interests in enforcing their laws. This sovereign injury is in and of itself sufficient to establish irreparable harm,” the filing reads. “In addition, California and New Mexico would suffer irreparable harm to their natural resources and wildlife protected by those laws. Finally, as this Court has already held, the balance of the equities and public interest favor enjoining [the administration’s] unlawful conduct.”

Gilliam, an Obama appointee, ruled last month to grant a preliminary injunction to stop Trump from using some Pentagon funds for a border wall. The president declared a national emergency earlier this year to divert those dollars toward a border wall.

Several lawsuits have been filed to challenge Trump’s authority to divert the military funds, arguing that only Congress has the authority to allocate federal funds. Gilliam’s injunction was issued in a lawsuit brought forward by several groups, including the ACLU and the Sierra Club. The Trump administration has appealed that order, and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments in the case next week.

THE HILL