Media Mention

Ilya Somin: Challenge Trump’s Diversion of Funds to Build his Wall

September 26, 2020

Note: this piece was originally published in Reason, and was written by Checks & Balances member Ilya Somin. 

It may not get much media coverage, due to the furor over the Supreme Court nomination. But yesterday the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit issued an important decision holding that the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives has standing to challenge Donald Trump’s attempted diversion of military and other funds to build his border wall.

The ruling was written by senior Judge David Sentelle, a prominent conservative judge appointed by Ronald Reagan. Judge Sentelle is a highly distinguished jurist, and generally thought of as one of the two or three most conservative members of the DC Circuit. It’s hard to dismiss Sentelle as either a jurisprudential lightweight, or a liberal with an axe to grind against the right.

Perhaps more importantly, Judge Sentelle’s originalist and structural analysis of the issue at stake is very compelling, and might well carry the day in the Supreme Court, should they take up the case. As Sentelle emphasizes, the key reason why the House suffered a sufficient “injury” to qualify for standing is that the original meaning of the Constitution embodies the idea that it is essential that the power of the purse remain under the control of Congress, not the executive branch:

Continue reading at Reason.

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