Judge Questions Whether House Can Sue To Stop Border Wall Construction

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Judge Questions Whether House Can Sue To Stop Border Wall Construction
The House requested a preliminary injunction against the president's plan to use Defense Department funds to build a border wall.
SHOW TRANSCRIPT

A U.S. district judge made it clear Thursday that he's unsure if the House of Representatives has a legal standing to sue the Trump administration to try to block it from using Defense Department funds to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The House filed a motion in April requesting a preliminary injunction against the president's plan to use funds originally intended for military construction and counter-narcotics programs.

As part of President Trump's national emergency declaration issued earlier this year, The White House said it would take more than $600 million from the Treasury Forfeiture Fund and up to $6.1 billion from the Department of Defense to help pay for a border wall. The declaration gives him access to that government funding without going through Congress.

The House's motion argued that the Trump administration's decision to divert funds violates the Appropriations Clause of the Constitution, which gives Congress the power to designate federal spending.

Douglas Letter, the general counsel for the House, argued Thursday that there's precedent for the court to rule on this motion since "the Supreme Court is perfectly comfortable telling us, telling the two branches, 'Here's what the law means.'"

But the Justice Department argued the opposite, saying the Constitution doesn't give the executive and legislative branches the power to sue each other. The judge did not say when he expects to rule on the matter.