Court Battles

House Dems sue Trump over national emergency declaration

Greg Nash

The Democratic-controlled House on Friday filed a lawsuit against President Trump alleging his declaration of a national emergency to build a border wall is unconstitutional, a move that shifts the political battle to the courts.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, claims the president violated Congress’s constitutional authority over appropriations by diverting federal funds from other sources to construct a wall after Congress provided only $1.375 billion for border security.

{mosads}“The House is unaware of any other instance in American history where a President has declared a national emergency to obtain funding after failing to win Congressional approval for an appropriation,” the lawsuit reads.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The lawsuit was filed the same day that Trump visited California to view a segment of the wall constructed on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Trump declared a national emergency in February to shift federal funds toward construction of the border wall after Congress refused to provide him with the amount he requested.

The initial standoff resulted in a 35-day partial government shutdown, the longest in U.S. history.

The complaint was filed one day after Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced that the House would sue the president to block Trump’s national emergency declaration to build a wall along the southern border.

“The Congress has a solemn responsibility to defend its exclusive constitutional responsibilities, and protect our system of checks and balances,” Pelosi said of the lawsuit in a statement Friday. “The very integrity of our democratic institutions are at stake. We will not let the President trample over the Constitution.”

The House Democrats are also targeting Treasury Secretary Steven Mnunchin, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, as well as their respective departments.

The complaint argues that Trump lacks the authority under the National Emergencies Act to divert military funds toward the wall’s construction.

The lawsuit also cites comments Trump made in declaring the national emergency that he “didn’t need to do this” and that he’s “already done a lot of wall, for the election — 2020.”

Attorney General William Barr said at the time of Trump’s order that the president had the legal authority to declare the national emergency.

Immigration officials, including Nielsen, have also recently characterized the situation at the border as a crisis.

Updated 6:22 p.m.

Tags Border wall Donald Trump Donald Trump Kirstjen Nielsen Nancy Pelosi Nancy Pelosi national emergency Patrick Shanahan William Barr
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