Bench Memos

Law & the Courts

This Day in Liberal Judicial Activism—July 3

U.S. President Donald Trump visits a section of the U.S.-Mexico border wall in Otay Mesa, California, U.S. September 18, 2019. (Tom Brenner/Reuters)

2019—In Sierra Club v. Trump, a divided Ninth Circuit panel bars the Trump administration from reprogramming appropriated funds to build a border wall with Mexico. Specifically, the panel leaves in place, pending its consideration of the government’s appeal, a permanent injunction entered by a district court against the use of reprogrammed funds. In dissent, Judge N. Randy Smith concludes that plaintiffs have no cause of action (no legal claim) that they are entitled to invoke.

Three weeks later, the Supreme Court, by a 5-4 vote, will override the Ninth Circuit’s ruling and block the district court’s injunction from taking effect. (In June 2020, another divided panel of the Ninth Circuit will affirm the district court’s injunction.)


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