It doesn’t happen often, so we should take a moment to celebrate every time a federal judge actually pays attention to the law instead of just going along with whatever #Resistance the Democrats are attempting to throw at President Trump. It takes some backbone – and a certain fidelity to the Constitution – to buck the trend of gathering more and more power for the judiciary at the expense of the Trump administration. So we’re pleased to highlight a terrific ruling from Judge Trevor McFadden, who just told House Democrats to take a hike in their lawsuit against Trump’s emergency declaration at the border.
“This is a case about whether one chamber of Congress has the ‘constitutional means’ to conscript the Judiciary in a political turf war with the President over the implementation of legislation,” wrote the judge. “While the Constitution bestows upon Members of the House many powers, it does not grant them standing to hale the Executive Branch into court claiming a dilution of Congress’s legislative authority. The Court therefore lacks jurisdiction to hear the House’s claims and will deny its motion.”
McFadden made it clear in his judgement that Congress did have the right to sue the Executive Branch if necessary to protect its powers. However, he said, this was not a case in which House Democrats could claim constitutional standing against the Trump administration. It is indeed within the Executive’s privilege to re-allocate funds that Congress has already prescribed for the Pentagon. Those dollars can easily be moved over to the construction of the border wall, because it is clearly and obviously a national security priority, no matter what Pelosi & Friends believe.
Put plainly, if Congress wants to preserve its authority over every last nickel and dime it appropriates for the Pentagon, it will need to do so through specific legislation. If they can pass that bill, they can then claim full authority over the expenditure of military funds. Let’s see how many congressmen really want to provide that much micromanagement over the Pentagon. We’re guessing…not too many.
On the other hand, Congress could come to terms with the fact that as commander-in-chief, President Trump is acting within his proper authority when re-directing funds to the border. This is a certified and legitimate national emergency. There is a crisis at the border that is now acknowledged (in different ways) by both sides. It is well within Trump’s scope of authority to deal with that crisis as he sees fit – particularly in the absence of congressional action.
It’s a rare judicial victory for this White House, but it is a rightful one.