Trump administration asks appeals court to let border wall go ahead despite judge’s injunction

The Justice Department is asking the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals—Donald Trump’s least favorite court—for an emergency stay of a lower-court judge’s injunction against stretches of Trump’s border wall. U.S. District Court Judge Haywood Gilliam granted the injunction in a lawsuit brought by the Sierra Club and the Southern Border Communities Coalition, writing that “The position that when Congress declines the Executive’s request to appropriate funds, the Executive nonetheless may simply find a way to spend those funds ‘without Congress’ does not square with fundamental separation of powers principles dating back to the earliest days of our Republic.”

Gilliam also wrote that the power the administration was trying to tap in shifting funds to the border wall was only valid for “unforeseen” purposes, whereas “Defendants’ argument that the need for the requested border barrier construction funding was ‘unforeseen’ cannot logically be squared with the Administration’s multiple requests for funding for exactly that purpose dating back to at least early 2018.”

The Justice Department is asking the 9th Circuit to stay Gilliam’s injunction because, if the construction does not get moving soon, it might not be complete by the end of the fiscal year. “The injunction threatens to permanently deprive [the Department of Defense] of its authorization to use the funds at issue to complete the El Paso and Yuma projects, because the funding will likely lapse during the appeal’s pendency,” according to the motion filed. And wouldn’t it be a shame if the funding lapsed before the Trump administration finished using it for a purpose other than that for which it had been appropriated to begin with.

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