WASHINGTON – A federal judge in the United States rejected on Monday a lawsuit filed by the House of Representatives – where the Democrats hold a majority – against the financing of the border wall with Mexico from funds previously approved by Congress for other purposes.
Colombia district Judge Trevor N. McFadden decided that a single chamber of the legislature has no jurisdiction to sue the government for allegedly exceeding its powers.
The House of Representatives, headed by Democrat Speaker Nancy Pelosi, filed the lawsuit on its own as the Senate has a Republican majority.
“And while the Constitution bestows upon Members of the House many powers, it does not grant them standing to hale the Executive Branch into court claiming a dilution of Congress’s legislative authority,” ruled MacFadden, a President Donald Trump appointee.
The lawsuit’s intention was to block the transfer of $1 billion from Pentagon funds for the construction of the border wall with Mexico, as ordered by Trump.
McFadden’s decision comes after a federal judge in California in late May did block the diversion of funds from both the Pentagon and the Treasury Department to the construction of the wall.
Judge Haywood Gilliam of the US District Court for the Northern District of California ruled in favor of a coalition of 20 states – mostly Democrat governed – one environmental and a civil rights organization which had sued the federal government.
The funds addressed in both lawsuits are those that Trump approved to divert after decreeing a national emergency on the southern border in February.
The Congress approved $1.37 billion for the wall in its budgets, a figure far less than the $5.7 that Trump had requested, which led him to declare a national emergency with the aim of securing those funds without the approval of the legislature.
With the national emergency declared, the government re-allocated an additional $6.6 billion from the Pentagon and the Treasury Department to fund the construction of some 376 kilometers (234 miles) of border wall.