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Appeals court OKs White House diverting military funding to border wall construction

Appeals court OKs White House diverting military funding to border wall construction
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A federal appeals court on Friday gave the Trump administration the green light for its plan to divert military funding for border wall construction, overturning a lower court decision.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in a 2-1 decision ruled that El Paso County and the nonprofit Border Network for Human Rights did not have the standing to go against the administration’s plan to take $3.6 billion from more than 100 military construction projects and that neither plaintiff was able to prove they were harmed by the plan.

The decision overturned a 2019 ruling by U.S. District Judge David Briones.

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Judge James Dennis wrote in his minority opinion supporting the county and the nonprofit that he could not join the majority because he believes the “2019 Consolidated Appropriation Act clearly prohibited the redirection of funds that underpins the border-wall.”

The Friday ruling follows an October decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that the transfer of funds was illegal, upholding a request from the advocacy groups the Sierra Club and the Southern Border Communities Coalition against then-Defense secretary Mark EsperMark EsperOvernight Defense: Former Navy secretary reportedly spent .4M on travel | Ex-Pentagon chief Miller to testify on Jan. 6 Capitol attack | Austin to deliver West Point commencement speech Trump's Navy secretary spent over M on travel during pandemic: report Court declines to dismiss Amazon challenge against JEDI decision MORE, acting Homeland Security secretary Chad WolfChad WolfLawmakers slam DHS watchdog following report calling for 'multi-year transformation' Intel heads to resume worldwide threats hearing scrapped under Trump Sunday shows preview: Democrats eye passage of infrastructure bill; health experts warn of fourth coronavirus wave MORE and “all persons acting under their direction ... from using military construction funds appropriated for other purposes to build a border wall.” 

The Supreme Court has already agreed to review that ruling, which the 5th Circuit said it disagreed with and would “decline to follow.”

The border wall was one of President TrumpDonald TrumpDemocrats, activists blast reported Trump DOJ effort to get journalists' phone records Arizona secretary of state gets security detail over death threats surrounding election audit Trump admin got phone records of WaPo reporters covering Russia probe: report MORE’s top campaign promises in 2016 as he entered office with a vow to curb both legal and unauthorized immigration. He declared a national emergency in 2019 to transfer billions in military funds after he failed to reach a funding deal with Congress, leading to the longest government shutdown in U.S. history.

President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden to meet with 6 GOP senators next week Arizona secretary of state gets security detail over death threats surrounding election audit On The Money: Five takeaways on a surprisingly poor jobs report | GOP targets jobless aid after lackluster April gain MORE has said he intends to try to end the national emergency that allowed Trump to divert the Pentagon funds.