Trump Sued By House Democrats Over Unconstitutional Policy

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Donald Trump created a crisis at the border with his threats to shut down the border and end any chance for desperate immigrants to flee to safety and then circumvented Congress by declaring a national emergency to fix his mess and appease his voters. As a result, he faces several lawsuits by groups like the ACLU and 20 separate state governments.

Now, another group has weighed in with their own lawsuit. House Democrats filed suit against Trump over violations of appropriations laws, saying that Trump is attempting to use taxpayer dollars without the consent of Congress, who is constitutionally granted authority over spending. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) issued a statement, according to Vox:

‘The President’s action clearly violates the Appropriations Clause by stealing from appropriated funds, an action that was not authorized by constitutional or statutory authority,. Congress, as Article I — the first branch, co-equal to the other branches — must reassert its exclusive responsibilities reserved by the text of the Constitution and protect our system of checks and balances.’

In order to have their lawsuit granted, Democrats must prove that harm has been done as a result of Trump’s actions. In a twist of irony, Republicans may have provided them with the legal precedent they need as proof in the GOP fight to block the Affordable Care Act.

‘At the time, Republicans argued that officials had attempted to use federal funds that had not been approved by Congress to pay insurers under the Affordable Care Act. In that case, a federal judge ruled that Republicans had the grounds to sue the White House because its efforts infringed on Congress’s authority over appropriations. Because Trump is now trying to reauthorize funds that were originally appropriated for other purposes, legal experts say Democrats can, once again, use this same argument and emphasize that he’s circumventing Congress by doing so.’

The declaration of a national emergency from a president of the United States is rarely questioned, leaving the ACA fight the one legal precedent from which Democrats can draw. However, a national emergency that does little more than fulfill campaign promises is certainly unprecedented.

‘House Democrats could also contest the status of the national emergency by arguing that it’s not actually an emergency at all, though experts have said that the law has typically granted the president wide latitude to determine what an emergency is.’

Featured image via Flickr by Gage Skidmore under a Creative Commons license