July 26, 2019

US Supreme Court allows Trump to spend military funds on US-Mexico border wall construction
The US Supreme Court has handed Donald Trump a reprieve by allowing his administration to redirect $2.5 billion earmarked for the Pentagon to help build his US-Mexico border wall. The conservative-majority court overturned by a 5-4 vote a ruling by a federal judge in California that prevented Mr Trump from using the money on the wall as it had not been approved by Congress. "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!" Mr Trump tweeted. A brief order explaining the court's decision said the government "made a sufficient showing" that the groups challenging the decision did not have grounds to bring a lawsuit. "The diversion of military funds for border wall construction will wall off and destroy communities, public lands, and waters," said Gloria Smith, an attorney for the Sierra Club, which sued to block the funds. Mr Trump has said the wall is needed to curb illegal immigration and drug trafficking Credit: AFP Mr Trump had declared on 15 February a national emergency in a bid to fund the wall without congressional approval, an action Democrats said exceeded his powers and usurped Congress' authority. The administration has also pledged to redirect $6.7 billion from the Departments of Defense and Treasury toward wall construction after failing to persuade Congress to provide the money. Congress earlier failed to provide $5.7 billion in wall funding demanded by Mr Trump in a showdown in which the president triggered a 35-day partial shutdown of the federal government that ended in January. The administration said a court decision was needed quickly because it needs to spend the money before the end of September, when the federal government's fiscal year ends. Mr Trump made the border wall a major 2016 campaign promise, while the border wall remains part of his hardline immigration policies that are central to his 2020 re-election bid. Mr Trump has said the wall is needed to curb illegal immigration and drug trafficking across the southern border. Democrats have called the wall immoral, ineffective and expensive. The Southern Border Communities Coalition, a group advocating for people living in border areas, joined the Sierra Club in suing to try to block the administration's action. The challengers have said the border wall would be disruptive to the environment in part because it could worsen flooding problems and have a negative impact on wildlife. US District Judge Haywood Gilliam ruled in May that appropriating Defense Department budget for the fight against illegal drugs was unlawful, and issued an injunction barring the use of Pentagon funds. The administration asked that the injunction barring use of the reprogrammed funds be put on hold pending an appeal but the San Francisco-based 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals declined to do so.
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