A federal judge decided on Monday to throw out a potential lawsuit from House Democrats against President Donald Trump over his proposed use of emergency military funds to build a border wall.
Judge Trevor McFadden, a Trump-appointee, explained that the dispute was one of a political nature and that the Democrats behind the lawsuit couldn’t proceed “because the Constitution grants the House no standing to litigate these claims.”
According to The Hill, McFadden was careful to clarify that his decision didn’t mean that Congress is not allowed to sue the president. “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,” he added.
McFadden also said that “the Court cannot assume jurisdiction to proceed to the merits” due to the lack of binding precedent and rulings made in related cases that prove they could sue over the matter.
The lawsuit originated after Trump declared a national emergency in February over what he labeled a “crisis” at the southern U.S. border after Congress rejected to legislatively fund his proposed border wall project.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, with the backing of several Democratic colleagues, filed the lawsuit against Trump in April which accused the president of “stealing from appropriated funds” to the tune of $6.7 billion.
House Dems argued that because they’d exhausted every other option, they should be able to sue to block the president’s actions on the matter. They also claimed they had standing for a lawsuit because Trump’s idea to use military funding is only something Congress is constitutionally allowed to do.
A federal judge in Washington denied a request by House Democrats to block President Trump from transferring funds from appropriated accounts to construct his wall https://t.co/AIQDs77hCL
— CNN (@CNN) June 4, 2019
McFadden gave Democrats some hope in his decision, though, claiming Congress still had options to tackle the situation without using a federal lawsuit.
“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.”
According to Fox News, one of those “arrows” would involve Congress modifying or repealing appropriations law to “exempt future appropriations” by the Trump administration.
The federal judge’s decision comes on the heels of a victory scored by Democrats last week thanks to an Obama-appointed judge’s ruling that stopped the Trump administration from using reallocated funding for border wall construction projects in Arizona and Texas.
The Trump administration responded to the decision by saying they’d appeal the judge’s ruling.