Rome News-Tribune

SCOTUS ends legal clash over border wall spending

- By Todd Ruger

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court wiped out a lower court ruling Tuesday that had found the House had a right to file a lawsuit against the Trump administra­tion for the use of funds to construct a barrier on the U.s.mexico border.

The justices also ordered a lower court to declare that the case is now moot and the courts don’t need to decide any remaining substantiv­e issues, since President Joe Biden halted spending on wall constructi­on that President Donald Trump had ordered.

The Supreme Court otherwise didn’t address issues raised in the historic clash between the executive and legislativ­e branches.

The one-paragraph order means the case, once potentiall­y a dramatic separation­of-powers showdown over a president’s ability to spend funds without congressio­nal approval, will leave little lasting mark in the law.

The House had asked the justices to preserve the lower court’s ruling that backed

their right to sue, which it said was the first appellate decision between the political branches over the Appropriat­ions Clause since

the Constituti­on was ratified.

The case took years to twist and turn through the lower courts. And the House had pointed out that the ruling

was “the product of an exceptiona­l expenditur­e of judicial and party resources.”

The case started after a dispute between Trump and

Congress in late 2018 about funding for border wall constructi­on that caused the government to shut down for more than a month, until

Trump relented.

Trump wanted $5 billion in a fiscal 2019 spending bill to build a wall, one of his main campaign promises. Congress only appropriat­ed $1.375 billion for fencing. But after the shutdown, Trump announced plans to transfer up to $8.1 billion from other funds for the border wall constructi­on.

The Democratic-led House argued the move violated the Appropriat­ions Clause in a way that usurps Congress’s authority over spending — and a key part of the lawsuit was whether the House by itself could go to the courts to stop the spending.

A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled in 2020 that the House had the right to sue, which Speaker Nancy Pelosi called at the time “a strong victory for the Constituti­on and the rule of law.”

This year, the Biden administra­tion asked the Supreme Court to erase that ruling, arguing that it could put federal courts in the middle of an “infinite” number of spending disputes between a president and one chamber of Congress.

 ?? Molly O’toole/los Angeles Times/tns ?? A new section of border wall constructe­d in a remote expanse of desert outside Yuma, Arizona, under the Trump administra­tion.
Molly O’toole/los Angeles Times/tns A new section of border wall constructe­d in a remote expanse of desert outside Yuma, Arizona, under the Trump administra­tion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States