• Reason to Tweet: Supremes Hand Trump Major Victory on Wall-Building

    Surge Summary: The Supreme Court has backed Donald Trump’s efforts to use some Pentagon funds to proceed with efforts to build a wall along the U.S. southern border.

    Wow – huge news released late on a quiet, lazy summer’s night.

    Lawrence Hurley/Reuters reports:

    The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday handed President Donald 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 U.S.-Mexico border even though lawmakers refused to provide funding.

    The determination broke down along somewhat predictable lines, the “conservative” justices granting the go-ahead on a 5-4 vote, with the court’s liberals dissenting. The majority

    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 authorize the funds to be spent on the wall project fiercely opposed by Democrats and Mexico’s government.

    The President, of course, responded with a tweet:

    “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!” Trump tweeted just minutes after the court acted.

    An explanation of the court’s decision articulated the government “made a sufficient showing” that the groups challenging the decision lacked sufficient grounds to bring a lawsuit.

    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 Democrats said exceeded his powers under the U.S. 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, including the $2.5 billion in Pentagon funding. Congress earlier failed to provide $5.7 billion in wall funding demanded by Trump in a showdown in which the president triggered a 35-day partial shutdown of the federal government that ended in January.

    The Sierra Club – a prominent environmental group — and Southern Border Communities Coalition — a group advocating for people living in border areas — brought the case against Trump’s plan. They charged the wall would be disruptive to the environment, worsening flooding problems and have a negative impact on wildlife.

    So, apparently, among other things, environmental gripes are being tossed into the brief against the effort to secure America’s southern border.

    Additionally, according to National Review, some complained,

    “the barrier would interfere in recreational activities like “hiking, birdwatching, [and] photography.”

    Administration attorneys in response insisted

    the environmental groups’ recreational concerns are outweighed by the state’s interest in addressing the humanitarian cost associated with the smuggling of narcotics across the border.


    U.S. District Judge Haywood Gilliam ruled on May 30 in Oakland, California that the administration’s proposal to build parts of the border wall in California, New Mexico and Arizona with money appropriated for the Defense Department to use in the fight against illegal drugs was unlawful. The judge issued an injunction barring use of the Pentagon funds for a border wall.

    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 U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declined to do so.

    The nation’s highest court then reversed that Circuit Court, releasing the monies for the President’s wall-building use.

    This decision is not only a considerable gain for Donald Trump on a political level – the pledge to build the wall dominated his 2016 campaign for the Oval Office – but a finding which adds to the ongoing legal row over the extent of executive, i.e. presidential, power.

    Chalk up another one for the Trump Administration.

    Expect more tweets to be forthcoming.

    Image: Adapted from: U.S. Navy photo by Steelworker 1st Class Matthew Tyson; ID 090317-N-5253T-016; Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8358684

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