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Judge: Trump Can't Use Military Money for His Wall

'All President Trump has succeeded in building is a constitutional crisis': California AG
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 29, 2019 5:30 AM CDT
In this April 5, 2019, file photo, a US Customs and Border Protection vehicle is seen as President Trump visits a new section of the border wall with Mexico in El Centro, Calif.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

(Newser) – A federal judge on Friday prohibited President Trump from tapping $2.5 billion in military funding to build high-priority segments of his prized border wall in California, Arizona, and New Mexico. Judge Haywood S. Gilliam Jr. in Oakland acted on two lawsuits filed by California and by activists who contended that the money transfer was unlawful and that building the wall would pose environmental threats, per the AP. "All President Trump has succeeded in building is a constitutional crisis, threatening immediate harm to our state," said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who led a 20-state coalition of attorneys general in one lawsuit. The decisions are in line with Gilliam's ruling last month that blocked work from beginning on two of the highest-priority projects—one spanning 46 miles in New Mexico and another covering 5 miles in Yuma, Ariz.

But the fight is far from over. The US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is expected to take up the same issue of using military money next week. At issue is President Trump's February declaration of a national emergency so that he could divert $6.7 billion from military and other sources to begin construction of the wall, which could have begun as early as Monday.
Trump declared the emergency after losing a fight with the Democratic-led House that led to a 35-day government shutdown. In the second suit, brought by the ACLU on behalf of the Sierra Club and the Southern Border Communities Coalition, the judge determined that the use of the $2.5 billion for two sectors of the wall was unlawful, although he rejected environmental arguments that wall construction would threaten species such as bighorn sheep. (Read more border wall stories.)

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