Appeals court rules funding for Trump border wall construction 'unlawful'
The Trump administration does not have the authority to use military funding to pay for construction of a border wall, a federal appeals court panel ruled on Friday.
In a 2-1 ruling, a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel found that diverting $2.5 billion Congress had appropriated for the military violated the Constitution and is unlawful.
The executive branch "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 by a federal judge in California who last year found that the Trump administration's funding scheme was against the law.
The administration grabbed the military money last year after Congress refused to appropriate money for the wall. The president declared a national emergency at the border in order to access the money from the Pentagon.
The U.S. district court judge, Haywood S. Gilliam Jr., found the administration failed to prove the money was need "unforeseen military requirements."