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Border Wall Big Win, But Not Fundamental

Trump Border Wall Win
The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday handed President Donald Trump a victory by letting his administration redirect $2.5 billion in money approved by Congress for the Pentagon to help build his promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border even though Congress had failed to pass legislation appropriating funds for the construction.

This is a very good, but very narrow victory.

The Court entered a brief order explaining the court’s decision saying the government “made a sufficient showing” that the groups challenging the decision did not have grounds to bring a lawsuit. The order blocked in full a ruling by a federal judge in California barring the President from spending the money on the basis that Congress did not specifically authorize the funds to be spent on the wall project. This means the Court, as has often been the case in the Roberts court, avoided reaching the larger issues of presidential power, the Constitution’s Appropriations Clause, etc.

And it will surprise no one that the four Democrat professional political operatives (we mean Justices) voted together against the five-member conservative majority.

The President was justifiably ecstatic: “Wow! Big VICTORY on the Wall. The United States Supreme Court overturns lower court injunction, allows Southern Border Wall to proceed. Big WIN for Border Security and the Rule of Law!” Trump tweeted just minutes after the court acted.

The underlying lawsuit came about because the administration said it plans to redirect $6.7 billion from the Departments of Defense and Treasury toward wall construction under the emergency declaration after failing to convince Congress to provide the money, including the $2.5 billion in Pentagon funding. Congress earlier failed to provide $5.7 billion in wall funding demanded by Trump in a showdown in which the president triggered a 35-day partial shutdown of the federal government that ended in January of this year.

According to reporting by Reuters, U.S. District Judge Haywood Gilliam ruled on May 30 in Oakland, California that the administration’s proposal to build parts of the border wall in California, New Mexico and Arizona with money appropriated for the Defense Department to use in the fight against illegal drugs was unlawful. The judge issued an injunction barring use of the Pentagon funds for a border wall.

The administration asked that the injunction barring use of the reprogrammed funds be put on hold pending an appeal but the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declined to do so.

And the even better news is that the just-passed spending travesty did have one good thing it in – it did not have a prohibition against wall construction or any of the other Paul Ryan-era betrayals on Wall construction, so President Trump is free to proceed with obligating the funds for construction of the Wall.

And Capitol Hill Republicans are actively touting the preservation of the president’s border wall transfer authority as a huge concession by Democrats. They say that even though Democrats have the House, they won’t be able to stop the president from moving around money.

“It’s a win for the White House,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas).

There’s still the $4 [billion] or $5 billion to construct border wall initiatives with reprogramming. And I know it was an issue with this budget deal to make sure that [Democrats] couldn’t stop that,” said Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), one of Trump’s closest confidants and the head of the conservative Freedom Caucus.

However, there will be another showdown on spending in September, and given how out of touch Democrats are, and how power in the Democratic House has shifted Left, there is likely to be a battle royal over Wall funding and immigration generally.

As Burgess Everett and Melanie Zanona reported for POLITICO, Capitol Hill Republicans are realistic about the toxic mix of issues facing them ahead of a funding deadline that will approach quickly after Congress returns from its August recess. The Homeland Security spending bill is likely to be the last one written, say Everett and Zanona, considering how controversial immigration policy has become. And it’s not just the border wall that could trip up Congress, but also detention beds and ICE funding.

And the solution to the border and illegal alien crisis is much bigger than the Wall.

As Lindsey Graham 2.0 noted, “We need money for the border wall, but more than anything else we need to change our laws because everybody coming here is trying to get caught… My focus now is not the wall, it’s asylum.”

Even though Lindsey Graham 2.0 has been a tiger for the conservative view on many issues and was definitely the hero of the Kavanaugh confirmation hearing, and is right about asylum, when we see Senator Graham and immigration in the same paragraph we can’t help but think of the disastrous “comprehensive immigration reform” amnesty bill championed by the so-called Gang of Eight.

President Trump and conservatives won a big victory in the Supreme Court’s Wall ruling and in the otherwise disastrous spending bill, but we must be prepared to renew the immigration fight when Congress returns in September and takes-up the next round of spending bills.

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