California v. Trump, No. 19-16299 (9th Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
The Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2019 does not authorize the Department of Defense (DoD) to make budgetary transfers from funds appropriated by Congress to it for other purposes in order to fund the construction of a wall on the southern border of the United States in California and New Mexico.
The Ninth Circuit first held that California and New Mexico have Article III standing to pursue their claims because they have alleged that the actions of the Federal Defendants will cause particularized and concrete injuries in fact to the environment and wildlife of their respective states as well as to their sovereign interests in enforcing their environmental laws; California has alleged environmental and sovereign injuries "fairly traceable" to the Federal Defendants' conduct; and a ruling in California and New Mexico's favor would redress their harms. Furthermore, California and New Mexico easily fall within the zone of interests of Section 8005 of the Act and are suitable challengers to enforce its obligations under the Administrative Procedure Act.
The panel held that the district court correctly determined that Section 8005 did not authorize DoD's budgetary transfer to fund construction of the El Paso and El Centro Sectors. The panel explained that the district court correctly determined that the border wall was not an unforeseen military requirement, that funding for the wall had been denied by Congress, and therefore, that the transfer authority granted by Section 8005 was not permissibly invoked. Therefore, the panel affirmed the district court's judgment, declining to reverse the district court’s decision against imposing a permanent injunction, without prejudice to renewal.