• By The Financial District


A federal appeals court reversed course in the border wall lawsuit, delivering a potential win to House Democrats who sued over President Donald Trump's transfer of Defense Department funds to construct the wall, Geneva Sands and Ryan Browne reported for CNN.

The appeals court disagreed with the lower court over the constitutional claims in the case and sent it back for further review. The decision is a blow to Trump, who has made the border wall a cornerstone of his presidency.

Last summer, the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives appealed a federal judge's decision not to block Trump from funding a border wall. At the time, Judge Trevor McFadden said the House lacked standing to bring the challenge and that he did not believe the court should step into the fight between the President and Congress. More than a year later, the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit has disagreed. The court ruled that "each chamber has a distinct individual right, and in this case, one chamber has a distinct injury." Therefore, the House Democrats can challenge the President's transfer of funds to build the border wall. "To put it simply, the Appropriations Clause requires two keys to unlock the Treasury, and the House holds one of those keys. The Executive Branch has, in a word, snatched the House's key out of its hands," the appeals court said.

Trump tapped into Department of Defense funds for the border wall, despite a congressional appropriation of $1.375 billion for barrier construction -- a move that kicked off the case. Last April, the House filed a lawsuit alleging that the transfer of funds violated the Appropriations Clause of the Constitution and the Administrative Procedure Act when the administration transferred funds appropriated for other uses to finance the construction of the southern border wall. The Department of Defense has defended the transfer of the funds, citing past practice and saying that it is not required to obtain congressional approval for moving money around using pre-existing reprogramming authorities.

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