President Donald Trump‘s cornerstone campaign promise during the 2016 election — constructing a new wall on the southern U.S. border — hit another snag on Tuesday as a federal judge in Texas blocked the president from using billions in Pentagon funding to build portions of the structure.
According to KSWB-TV, Judge David Briones of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas put at least a temporary stop to a staggering $3.6 billion package that was to be diverted from military construction projects and used instead for Trump’s proposed southern border wall.
Trump’s newly-minted Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper, originally approved the use of the funds earlier this year, explaining that half of the money would come out of the budgets of planned military construction projects in the United States and the other half was from deferred projects overseas.
A lawsuit to block the Trump administration’s efforts to bolster wall funding was filed by both El Paso County, Texas, and a group known as the Border Network for Human Rights. Both groups claimed that the president didn’t have the proper authority to declare a national emergency as a method to secure other sources of funding for the wall, given that he’d already secured over $1 billion through Congressional process.
A spokesperson for Protect Democracy — the nonprofit, nonpartisan counsel for the plaintiffs in the lawsuit — celebrated Tuesday’s ruling while taking a jab at the president.
“The President’s emergency proclamation was a blatant attempt to grab power from Congress. Today’s order affirms that the President is not a king and that our courts are willing to check him when he oversteps his bounds,” attorney Kristy Parker said.
Briones’ Tuesday ruling, however, only affects the specific $3.6 billion in funding that was to be used for U.S. military construction projects. It does not block money from other outside sources, including counter-drug and Treasury Forfeiture Funds.
BREAKING: Judge Briones in Texas just enjoined the government (permanently!!) from spending anything more than what Congress appropriated for the border wall. Proud to work on this case with @protctdemocracy, @tribelaw, @omelvenymyers, Wilkie Farr & Gallagher, & Stuart Gerson. pic.twitter.com/kgU1juvcl7
— Niskanen Center (@NiskanenCenter) December 10, 2019
News of the ruling comes just a week after three men were caught on video scaling a portion of new border wall — sections that Trump once claimed were designed in such a way that nobody, including professional climbers, would be able to conquer them, according to The Inquisitr.
But the trio of men was seen tackling the new border wall section with relative ease, using a low-tech, old-fashioned rope ladder. Video of the event quickly went viral with over 1 million views and received plenty of social media feedback.
Technically speaking, there hasn’t been any new wall construction as of Trump’s third year in office, as confirmed by the White House. However, the president’s administration has replaced existing sections with the newly upgraded ones, which are apparently scalable.