Judge mulls arguments in border wall lawsuit
SAN DIEGO (KSWB) -- A San Diego federal judge listened to two and a half hours of arguments Friday about a lawsuit challenging the Trump administrations plan to bypass environmental laws to build a new security wall along the U.S. Mexico border.
The case, which is being brought by the state of California and multiple groups, challenges the Department of Homeland Security's power to waive environmental laws in their construction of a border wall.
The plaintiffs, the state of California and lawyers for the Trump administration presented their arguments to District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel in his San Diego courtroom. He took the arguments under submission and is expected to make a ruling on the case next week.
Outside the courtroom, a couple of dozen demonstrators gathered holding signs protesting the wall.
The plaintiffs argue that the Trump administration is violating the Constitution and state laws because it is not "conducting any environmental review or complying with any environmental protection laws." But the federal government, citing a 1996 immigration law, says it has the authority to waive environmental laws in order to build the wall, a top campaign promise of President Donald Trump.
RELATED: California judge mulls arguments in border wall lawsuit
The administration notes that previous challenges to this law have been unsuccessful, saying it "has been repeatedly upheld in the face of legal challenges."
California Supervising Deputy Attorney General Michael Cayaban disagreed with the Trump Administration's position that the court did not have jurisdiction to decide the issue.
Curiel said he thought he did and asked for more briefing on the case. A decision is expected next week.
Brian Segee, an attorney representing the Center for Biological Diversity, said the government's power to waive certain state laws was being used "unfairly.''