Judge blocks $1 billion in funding for President Trump’s border wall construction

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A California federal judge has blocked the Trump administration from using $1 billion diverted from military accounts, including pay and pension funds, to begin border wall construction.

The judge did not rule on the legality of the administration’s diversion of another $3.6 billion from military construction funds — budgeted as part of a national emergency declaration — since the administration has not yet identified a final plan to use those funds.

Construction on the wall was scheduled to begin as early as Saturday.

The ruling cited the Executive Branch’s attempt to circumvent Congress as reason for blocking the funds.

Granting the Sierra Club and Southern Border Communities Coalition a preliminary injunction, U.S. District Judge Haywood S. Gilliam wrote, “The position that when Congress declines the Executive’s request to appropriate funds, the Executive nonetheless may simply find a way to spend those funds ‘without Congress’ does not square with fundamental separation of powers principles dating back to the earliest days of our Republic.”

“The case is not about whether the challenged border barrier construction plan is wise or unwise,” Gilliam wrote. “It’s about how the administration plans to fund it.”

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Sierra Club and Southern Border Communities Coalition, celebrated the ruling. The group even sarcastically posted a video on Twitter of President Donald Trump repeatedly promising to build the wall.

“This is a win for our system of checks and balances, the rule of law, and border communities,” the ACLU said in a statement. “The court blocked all wall projects currently slated for immediate construction.”

“If the Trump administration begins illegally diverting additional funds, we’ll be back in court,” it added.

Photo credit: Fastinews.com

Gilliam, who was nominated by then-President Barack Obama in 2014, specifically cited frustration as not being enough to go against the “essential” function of “our constitutional system.”

“Congress’s ‘absolute’ control over federal expenditures — even when that control may frustrate the desires of the Executive Branch regarding initiatives it views as important — is not a bug in our constitutional system. It is a feature of that system, and an essential one,” Gilliam wrote.

Trump has made building the border wall the central tenant of both his campaign and now his presidency. He declared a national emergency on Feb. 15 as a means of securing funding for the wall after he could not get a bill passed in Congress to provide money for construction.

As recently as Monday at a campaign-style rally in Pennsylvania, Trump said the wall was “being built as we speak” and claimed “almost 500 miles” will be erected by the end of next year. However, that construction was based on winning the court battle and much of it would replace existing barriers, not build new wall.

News credit: ABC News

Liverpool secures undeserved win over Crystal Palace

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Firmino ended a run of nine games without a goal
Firmino ended a run of nine games without a goal

Manager Jurgen Klopp says he has “no problem that Liverpool weren’t brilliant” during their hard-fought win at Crystal Palace.

Wilfried Zaha
Wilfried Zaha ended his goal drought at Selhurst Park that had stretched back to 9 February

Palace end tough run with another defeat

Defeat for Roy Hodgson’s side was their fourth in five games during a tough run of games against clubs in the upper echelons of the table.

Having faced Manchester City, Arsenal, second-placed Leicester and Chelsea before playing Liverpool, they now travel to sixth-placed Burnley next weekend.

But with more composure from Zaha they could easily have earned a draw that their play in an evenly-balanced game deserved.

The home supporters were understandably aggrieved by the VAR decision that went against their side, as Kevin Friend had awarded the goal after Tomkins nodded in unmarked at the back post from a free-kick.

Replays, however, showed Ayew appeared to push Lovren in the back as the Liverpool defender shaped to head the ball.

That incident was just before the break and Mane scored four minutes after it, so Hodgson will take heart that his players’ heads did not drop after those two blows in quick succession.

Indeed they were always a threat to Klopp’s side and substitute Jeffrey Schlupp had Alisson scrambling to make a fine save before Zaha’s fine strike ended his drought at Selhurst Park that stretched back to 9 February.

The fact the Eagles equalised so late on but could not earn a point will be the biggest disappointment to the former Liverpool and England manager.

Man of the match – Andros Townsend

Andros Townsend
Andros Townsend was a thorn in Liverpool’s side all match and set up Wilfried Zaha’s goal

Our best display of the season – Hodgson

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson speaking to BBC Match of the Day: “The players should be congratulating themselves on taking a point from the leaders but it wasn’t to be. I have praise for my own team for having a go, if you can be bold enough to praise your team when you’re not winning.

“Throughout there was not an awful lot of clear-cut chances. That was testament to the defensive work we did throughout the team. The fact is you must take your chances and we only took one of ours.

“The late winner is a cruel blow but I have nothing to complain about from my side. I want to be positive, I think it was our best performance so far this season.”

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp speaking to Sky Sports: “At the end we won the game and it was deserved as well. There were not too many mistakes but the goal they scored was good. We have to bring plans together after the international break.

“I’m happy with the result and big parts of the performance because I know it’s not possible to be brilliant every game.”

Match stats – Liverpool, the set-piece kings

  • Liverpool are unbeaten in 30 Premier League matches (W25 D5); only Arsenal (49 games in October 2004) and Chelsea (40 in October 2005) have had longer runs without defeat in the history of the competition.
  • Since the start of last season, Liverpool have scored 38 goals from set-pieces in the Premier League (including penalties), eight more than any other club.
  • Sadio Mane is only the third Liverpool player to score in five consecutive Premier League games against a particular opponent, after Michael Owen against Newcastle and Luis Suarez against Norwich.
  • Crystal Palace have lost three consecutive home league games for the first time since March 2018, when the third such defeat in that run was also against Liverpool.
  • Crystal Palace have lost each of their last five league meetings with Liverpool, their longest losing run against them.
  • Wilfried Zaha scored his first goal in 14 Premier League games for Crystal Palace, ending a period of 1,245 minutes on the pitch without scoring.
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