Chuck Schumer and the rest of the Democrats counted on the courts stopping Donald Trump from building the wall.
Democrats figured friendly judges would throw out the law and hand down decisions that advanced the left’s anti-Trump “resistance.”
But then this court gave President Trump a win that left Chuck Schumer speechless.
Liberals counted on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to block Trump’s immigration agenda.
When the President instituted his travel ban and changes to asylum laws, left-wing activists on the Ninth Circuit stopped it and issued decisions temporarily blocking key parts of Donald Trump’s agenda.
So when the state of California and environmental groups filed suits to stop the Trump administration from building a border wall prototype and repairing 14 miles of existing fencing, the left expected to rack up another win.
But that was not the case.
The Ninth Circuit panel backed the Trump administration.
“The panel held that the plain text of section 102(a) of IIRIRA granted DHS authority to construct the border barrier projects, and that grant of authority was not limited by section 102(b) of IIRIRA. The panel concluded that the district court correctly granted DHS summary judgment on the ultra vires claims. The panel further held that the environmental claims were precluded by the Secretary’s waiver of the National Environmental Policy Act, the Coastal Zone Management Act, and the APA. The panel held that it lacked jurisdiction to consider any argument challenging the waivers themselves,” the court wrote.
The court stated that the law allowed Homeland Security to build the wall if certain conditions were met.
“Section 102(a) vests the Secretary with authority to “take such actions as may be necessary to install additional physical barriers and roads (including the removal of obstacles to detection of illegal entrants) in the vicinity of the United States border to deter illegal crossings in areas of high illegal entry into the United States,” the court wrote.
Environmental groups tried to argue that the law forbade Homeland Security from replacing old fencing and only allowed construction for new fencing.
The panel laughed this argument out of the courtroom.
“The plain language of section 102(a) suggests no such limitation. In simple terms, “additional” means “supplemental.” Ojai Unified Sch. Dist. v. Jackson, 4 F.3d 1467, 1472–73 (9th Cir. 1993) (quoting Town of Burlington v. Dep’t of Educ., 736 F.2d 773, 790 (1st Cir. 1984)). A “barrier” is “a material object or set of objects that separates, keeps apart, demarcates, or serves as a unit or barricade.” See Barrier, Webster’s New Int’l Dictionary of the English Language (3d ed. 1993). Combining the plain meaning of “additional” and “barrier” yields a “supplemental material object or set of objects that separates, keeps apart, demarcates, or serves as a unit or barricade.” A replacement fence fits comfortably within that definition,” the panel concluded.
This decision could have far-reaching implications.
If Trump uses executive authority to reprogram unspent federal money to complete the border wall, it is not a slam dunk that a lower court will block Trump’s move.
Even the most left-wing court in the country could not ignore the plain text of the law.
If Trump follows the letter of the law and uses his executive authority to build the wall, Schumer and the Democrats’ plan to block the wall through the courts could go down in flames.
We will keep you up to date on any new developments in this ongoing story.