The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 on Friday in favor of the use of military funds for building new wall sections along our Southern Border. When the challenge was filed, I expressed doubt over its chances and said that I thought it would fail before the Supreme Court. It now has and the Trump Administration has a lot of money to build a lot of wall . . . just in time for the 2020 election cycle.
The ruling overturns over court rulings in the Ninth Circuit and frees up $2.5 billion from the Defense Department. Trump designates those funds as part of the $8.1 billion he was seeking for the wall.
The Supreme Court ruling is more of a reflection of the Congress failing to use its powers than the Executive Branch exerting its own. I have long maintained that the Congress is frittering away its power over the purse by appropriating hundreds of billions of dollars with little limitation or purpose stated in bills. There are billions slushing around the Executive Branch and the Trump Administration was doing what prior Administrations have done in shifting the funds as it deems fit.
This is yet another case of a disconnect with legal commentary. For over a year, legal analysts and advocates have expressed confidence that this lawsuit would succeed despite strong case law supporting the Administration on the use of the money. There will be continued litigation over the authority to start the construction in terms of private property claims, administrative procedures, and other issues.
The case has also reinforced the position of the Democrats in opposing any new wall, particularly many running for the presidency. That is precisely what Trump wants in making immigration the defining issue for the general election.