Mere days after President Trump visited Arizona to see a new section of the border wall built with military funding, a federal appeals court ruled that the president does not have the authority to use those funds.
In a 2-1 ruling a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals panel decided that the president violated the Constitution when he diverted $2.5 billion in monies (which Congress had appropriated for the military) to construction of the wall along the southern border.
The White House “lacked independent constitutional authority to authorize the transfer of funds,” the ruling said. “These funds were appropriated for other purposes, and the transfer amounted to ‘drawing funds from the Treasury without authorization by statute and thus violating the Appropriations Clause.’ Therefore, the transfer of funds here was unlawful.”
The decision upheld a ruling last year by a federal judge in California after a group of states led by California sued to block the president’s action.
The majority judges in the appeals court’s decision, Sidney Thomas and Kim McLane Wardlaw, were appointed by Bill Clinton. The dissenting judge, Daniel Collins, is a Trump nominee.
The U.S. Constitution’s Appropriations Clause (found in Article 1, Section 7), upon which the majority judges based their ruling, states:
No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.
Their argument rests on the notion that the president was diverting money appropriated for the military to a non-military purpose.
Yet their argument ignores the fact that when President Trump declared a National Emergency and ordered the use of military funds for wall construction, the nation was in the middle of a border crisis, which even the left-wing New York Times described as a “breaking point” as 76,000 migrants illegally crossed the U.S. border in a single month.
While the numbers of illegal crossings have gone down, thanks, in part, to COVID-19 and America’s resultant border policies, already the threat of another migrant crisis looms on the horizon.
A new migrant caravan is currently forming in Honduras. It seeks to recruit thousands and plans to depart on June 30, with the goal of reaching the Mexican city of Tijuana before crossing into the United States.
The Constitution, in Article 4, Section 1, states that the federal government “shall protect each of [the states] against Invasion.” Furthermore, Article 1, Section 8 grants Congress power to “provide for calling forth the Militia to … suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions.”
In the same section, the Constitution provides for “the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings.”
Considering that Article 2, Section 2 makes the president “commander in chief” of the armed forces, it become clear that the founders saw protection against invasion as one of the primary functions of the military, that the military may build such structures as are necessary to repel against invasion, and that the president has authority, as commander in chief, to direct such anti-invasion efforts.
When thousands of foreign nationals are pouring across the border, how else can it be characterized except as an invasion? If President Trump, as commander in chief, believes a wall is needed to stop that invasion, he is within his constitutional authority to use defense funds for the project.
Contrary to what the appeals court’s majority judges argue, the president was not diverting funds from the military for a pet project, but simply designating the use of defense funds for an essential defense purpose.
The White House is expected to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.
If the president appeals, it’s not unlikely he’ll score a win. The nation’s highest court handed the administration a victory this week when it upheld the federal statute that permits expedited removal for illegal aliens who claim asylum because they fear returning home.
Ninety percent of such claims are fraudulent. Now that the Supreme Court has upheld the federal statute, migrants whose claims are found to be without merit can be deported swiftly without a right to object in court.
During his visit to Arizona this week, President Trump touted the work he has done to curtain unchecked migration into the country.
“My administration has done more than any administration in the history to secure our southern border. Our border has never been more secure,” he told officials. The administration has said it intends to build 450 miles by the end of the year.
Photo: Rabbitti/iStock/Getty Images Plus
Luis Miguel is a marketer and writer whose journalistic endeavors shed light on the Deep State, the immigration crisis, and the enemies of freedom. Follow his exploits on Facebook, Twitter, Bitchute, and at luisantoniomiguel.com.