Sierra Club v. Trump, No. 19-16102 (9th Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
This emergency proceeding arose from a challenge of a decision by President Trump and certain of his cabinet members to "reprogram" funds appropriated by the DoD for Army personnel needs and to redirect those funds toward building a barrier along portions of the United States' southern border. After Congress consistently refused to pass any measures that met the President's desired funding level, he sought to reprogram funds by DoD in response to a request by DHS.
Plaintiffs filed suit seeking to enjoin the reprogramming and the funds' expenditure, and the district court enjoined defendants from using the reprogrammed funds to construct a border barrier. Defendants moved for an emergency stay.
The Ninth Circuit denied defendants' motion for a stay, holding that defendants failed to show a likelihood of success on the merits of their appeal, because section 8005 of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2019 did not authorize DoD to reprogram the funds and thus the use of those funds violates the constitutional requirement that the Executive Branch not spend money absent an appropriation from Congress. Furthermore, plaintiffs either have an equitable cause of action to enjoin a constitutional violation, or they can proceed on their constitutional claims under the Administrative Procedure Act, or both. Finally, factors such as the degree of hardship that may result from a stay or its denial, and the public interest at stake, did not persuade the panel to enter a stay.