January 6, 2020
Congressman files IRLI-drafted brief against government by lawsuit
WASHINGTON – On behalf of Congressman Andy Barr of Kentucky, the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) has filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of the Trump administration in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, where the House of Representatives is appealing a district court’s decision to dismiss its suit meant to stop the administration from using emergency funds to build a border wall.
In 2018, following a lengthy government shutdown, President Trump signed a spending bill that included very inadequate funding for a wall. He then declared a national emergency at the border – thus, under laws passed by previous Congresses, acquiring the power to unlock certain federal funds meant for emergencies and devote them to wall construction. In response, majorities in both the House and Senate passed a joint resolution to terminate the emergency, but Trump vetoed this measure. Then, claiming that Trump’s actions were an “end-run” around the prerogative of the House of Representatives to appropriate funds, the House sued.
The district court (agreeing with the brief IRLI filed at that stage) tossed out the suit for lack of jurisdiction. In its brief opposing the House’s appeal of that decision, IRLI shows that the House’s suit is based on the false premise that Trump is defying the will of Congress. In fact, Congress can enact its will only through laws. By following the law Congress passed, Trump is defying not Congress, but only the wishes of the House and Senate majorities.
“The leadership of the House of Representatives got beaten politically by President Trump; now it seeks to reverse its fortunes in court,” said Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI. “But for politicians to run to court when votes don’t go their way is unhealthy for our democracy, to say the least. If the current House majority doesn’t like the result President Trump pulled off, it must find a political solution if it can – for whether Trump’s policy is a good one is a political question, to be decided ultimately by the votes of the people, not unelected federal judges.”
The case is U.S. House of Representatives v. Mnuchin, No. 19-5176 (D.C. Circuit).
For additional information, contact:
Brian Lonergan • 202-232-5590 • [email protected]
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