People For the American Way

Trump Judge’s Deciding Vote Allows Trump to Spend $3.6 Billion on Border Wall Despite Injunction Against It: Confirmed Judges, Confirmed Fears

News and Analysis
Trump Judge’s Deciding Vote Allows Trump to Spend $3.6 Billion on Border Wall Despite Injunction Against It: Confirmed Judges, Confirmed Fears

Confirmed Judges, Confirmed Fears” is a blog series documenting the harmful impact of President Trump’s judges on Americans’ rights and liberties. Cases in the series can be found by issue and by judge at this link.

Trump 5th Circuit judge Andrew Oldham cast the deciding vote on January 8, 2020 to stay a district court injunction against President Trump’s order to spend $3.6 billion on his border wall without approval from Congress. The dissenting judge pointed out that the majority also refused to give the case expedited treatment, meaning that Trump will be able to continue to spend the money for months or more without a final court decision on the claims that the spending is illegal.  The case is El Paso County, Texas v. Trump.

In December, a Texas federal judge issued a nationwide injunction preventing Trump from spending the $3.6 billion on his southern border wall. The case was brought by El Paso County and others.

In a brief, unsigned Jan. 8 order, however, Judge Oldham cast the deciding vote to stay the lower court injunction pending appeal and to deny a request to expedite the appeal. As Judge Stephen Higginson explained in dissent, without “focused panel deliberation” and oral argument, he could not agree that the government had shown “either a likelihood of success or irreparable harm,” as is required to grant such a stay. In addition, he criticized the majority for failing even to grant expedited treatment for “prompt consideration” of the “sensitive and complex legal questions” in the case.

As a result of Judge Oldham’s deciding vote, President Trump will be able to spend the $3.6 billion on the border wall for months no matter how the court of appeals eventually rules, despite the district court’s injunction against him.