House Democrats were handed a rare defeat in the courts on Monday when a Washington, D.C., district court threw out their lawsuit seeking an injunction against President Donald Trump’s emergency border to allocate funds to construct a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.
U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden said Democrats lacked standing in a case that challenged the administration’s plan to spend up to $8.1 billion for wall construction, a case McFadden said was fundamentally a political dispute, Fox News reported.
The lawsuit claimed that the White House had “flouted the fundamental separation-of-powers principles and usurped for itself legislative power specifically vested by the Constitution in Congress.”
But, as Fox News asserted, McFadden indicated that Democrats were trying to use the judiciary in what he described in his opinion as “a political turf war,” hoping to circumvent the political process.
“This case presents a close question about the appropriate role of the Judiciary in resolving disputes between the other two branches of the Federal Government. To be clear, the court does not imply that Congress may never sue the Executive to protect its powers,” McFadden wrote in his opinion. “The Court declines to take sides in this fight between the House and the President.”
McFadden is a Trump appointee and his ruling was at odds with a court decision last week blocking the administration from using the reallocated funds for projects in specific areas in Texas and Arizona, Fox News reported — the judge, in that case, U.S. District Judge Haywood Gilliam, was appointed by President Barack Obama.
It would seem there’s more to the left’s practice of judge shopping than they let on.
More on Monday’s ruling from Fox News:
McFadden began by focusing on two guiding Supreme Court cases he called “lodestars”– the 2015 case Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, and the 1997 case Raines v. Byrd.
“Read together, Raines and Arizona State Legislature create a spectrum of sorts,” McFadden wrote. “On one end, individual legislators lack standing to allege a generalized harm to Congress’s Article I power. On the other end, both chambers of a state legislature do have standing to challenge a nullification of their legislative authority brought about through a referendum.”
But, McFadden quickly distinguished the Arizona State Legislature case, which found institutional standing for legislators only in a limited instance. The Arizona case, the judge noted, “does not touch or concern the question whether Congress has standing to bring a suit against the President,” and the Supreme Court has found there was “no federal analogue to Arizona’s initiative power.”
McFadden said House Democrats lacked standing because they have constitutional legislative options to remedy their objections, to include the power to modify or repeal appropriations law if they wanted to “exempt future appropriations” from the Trump administration’s reach.
“Congress has several political arrows in its quiver to counter perceived threats to its sphere of power,” he wrote. “These tools show that this lawsuit is not a last resort for the House. And this fact is also exemplified by the many other cases across the country challenging the administration’s planned construction of the border wall.”
“The House retains the institutional tools necessary to remedy any harm caused to this power by the Administration’s actions,” McFadden continued. “Its Members can, with a two-thirds majority, override the President’s veto of the resolution voiding the National Emergency Declaration. They did not. It can amend appropriations laws to expressly restrict the transfer or spending of funds for a border wall under Sections 284 and 2808. Indeed, it appears to be doing so.”
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