Sierra Club v. Trump, No. 19-16102 (9th Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
Section 8005 and Section 9002 of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2019 does not authorize the Department of Defense's budgetary transfers to fund construction of the wall on the southern border of the United States in California, New Mexico, and Arizona.
The Ninth Circuit first held that Sierra Club and SBCC have established that their members satisfy the demands of Article III standing to challenge the Federal Defendants' actions. In this case, Sierra Club's thousands of members live near and frequently visit these areas along the U.S.-Mexico border to do a variety of activities; the construction of a border wall and related infrastructure will acutely injure their interests because DHS is proceeding with border wall construction without ensuring compliance with any federal or state environmental regulations designed to protect these interests; and the interests of Sierra Club's members in this lawsuit are germane to the organization's purpose. Furthermore, SBCC has alleged facts that support that it has standing to sue on behalf of itself and its member organizations. Sierra Club and SBCC have also shown that their injuries are fairly traceable to the challenged action of the Federal Defendants, and their injuries are likely to be redressed by a favorable judicial decision.
The panel held that neither Section 8005 nor any constitutional provision authorized DoD to transfer the funds at issue. The panel reaffirmed its holding in State of California, et al. v. Trump, et al., Nos. 19-16299 and 19-16336, slip op. at 37 (9th Cir. filed June 26, 2020), holding that Section 8005 did not authorize the transfer of funds at issue here because "the border wall was not an unforeseen military requirement," and "funding for the wall had been denied by Congress." The panel also held that Sierra Club was a proper party to challenge the Section 8005 transfers and that Sierra Club has both a constitutional and an ultra vires cause of action here. The panel explained that the Federal Defendants not only exceeded their delegated authority, but also violated an express constitutional prohibition designed to protect individual liberties. The panel considered the Federal Defendants' additional arguments, holding that the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) is not to be construed as an exclusive remedy, and the APA does not displace all constitutional and equitable causes of action, and Sierra Club falls within the Appropriations Clause's zone of interests. Finally, the panel held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in granting Sierra Club a permanent injunction enjoining the federal defendants from spending the funds at issue.
This opinion or order relates to an opinion or order originally issued on July 3, 2019.