Trump asks Supreme Court to allow him to tap Pentagon money for the US-Mexico border wall

news
(U.S. Army/Sgt. 1st Class Ben Navratil)

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump asked the U.S. Supreme Court to clear his administration to start using Pentagon funds for construction of more than 100 miles of fencing along the Mexican border.

Filing an emergency request Friday, the president asked the justices to lift a freeze on the money while a legal fight with the Sierra Club and another advocacy group plays out.

The request marks the first time the Supreme Court has been confronted with the dispute stemming from Trump's declaration of a national emergency in February to free up federal money for his border wall.


A federal trial judge in Oakland, Calif., blocked the use of $2.5 billion in a pair of orders in May and June. The judge and a San Francisco-based federal appeals court then refused to halt the rulings while the litigation went forward.

U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco told the high court that, because of federal budgetary rules, the administration risks not being able to use the money at all if the orders aren't lifted.

The administration wants to build barriers in stretches of New Mexico and Arizona that it says are used heavily by drug smugglers.

"The injunction frustrates the government's ability to stop the flow of drugs across the border in known drug-smuggling corridors," Francisco wrote.

The American Civil Liberties Union is representing the challengers.

"Congress has already considered and rejected Trump's xenophobic obsession with a wall," said Dror Ladin, the ACLU lawyer who argued the case at the lower court level. "And the Constitution is clear that the president has no power to disregard that decision."

Justice Elena Kagan, who handles emergency requests from that part of the country, ordered the Sierra Club to file a response by July 19.

———

©2019 Bloomberg News. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

SEE ALSO: The F-35 Of Walls: $1.57 Billion Spent For Just 1.7 Miles Of Fence On The US-Mexico Border

WATCH NEXT: The Border Mission In A Nutshell

Nothing says joint force battle management like a ride-sharing app. (Task & Purpose photo illustration)

The Air Force's top general says one of the designers of the ride-sharing app Uber is helping the branch build a new data-sharing network that the Air Force hopes will help service branches work together to detect and destroy targets.

The network, which the Air Force is calling the advanced battle management system (ABMS), would function a bit like the artificial intelligence construct Cortana from Halo, who identifies enemy ships and the nearest assets to destroy them at machine speed, so all the fleshy humans need to do is give a nod of approval before resuming their pipe-smoking.

Read More
The newly painted F-15 Eagle flagship, dubbed the Heritage Jet, was painted to honor 1st Lt. David Kingsley, the namesake for Kingsley Field, and his ultimate sacrifice. (U.S. Air National Guard/Senior Master Sgt. Jennifer Shirar)

An F-15C Eagle is sporting a badass World War II-era paint job in honor of a fallen bomber pilot who gave everything to ensure his men survived a deadly battle.

Read More
The wreckage of a U.S. Air Force E-11A Battlefield Airborne Communications Node aircraft is seen after a crash in Deh Yak district of Ghazni province, Afghanistan on January 27, 2020 (Reuters photo)

A U.S. E-11A Battlefield Airborne Communications Node aircraft crashed on Monday on Afghanistan, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein has confirmed.

Read More
In this June 7, 2009 file photo Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (24) points to a player behind him after making a basket in the closing seconds against the Orlando Magic in Game 2 of the NBA basketball finals in Los Angeles. Bryant, the 18-time NBA All-Star who won five championships and became one of the greatest basketball players of his generation during a 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers, died in a helicopter crash Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020. He was 41. (Associated Press/Mark J. Terrill)

Beloved basketball legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and seven other people were killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Sunday. Two days earlier, Army Spc. Antonio I. Moore was killed during a vehicle rollover accident while conducting route clearing operations in Syria.

Which one more deserves your grief and mourning? According to Maj. Gen. John R. Evans, commander of the U.S. Army Cadet Command, you only have enough energy for one.

Read More
Jessica Purcell of St. Petersburg, a captain in the Army Reserve, was pregnant with son Jameson when she was told at a MacDill Air Force Base clinic not to worry about lumps under her arm. She now is diagnosed stage 4 cancer. Jameson is 10 months old. (Tampa Bay Times/Scott Keeler via Tribune News Service)

Jessica Purcell, a captain in the U.S. Army Reserve, was pregnant with her first child when she noticed a swollen lymph node in her left underarm.

Health-care providers at a MacDill Air Force Base clinic told her it was likely an infection or something related to pregnancy hormones. The following year they determined the issue had resolved itself.

It hadn't. A doctor off base found a large mass in her underarm and gave her a shocking diagnosis: stage 2 breast cancer.

Purcell was pregnant again. Her daughter had just turned 1. She was 35. And she had no right to sue for malpractice.

A 1950 Supreme Court ruling known as the Feres doctrine prohibits military members like Purcell from filing a lawsuit against the federal government for any injuries suffered while on active duty. That includes injury in combat, but also rape and medical malpractice, such as missing a cancer diagnosis.

Thanks in part to Tampa lawyer Natalie Khawam, a provision in this year's national defense budget allows those in active duty to file medical malpractice claims against the government for the first time since the Feres case.

With the Department of Defense overseeing the new claims process, the question now is how fairly and timely complaints will be judged. And whether, in the long run, this new move will help growing efforts to overturn the ruling and allow active duty members to sue like everyone else.

Read More