Willkie Contributes to Victory in Blocking President Trump’s Emergency Declaration to Fund Border Wall

October 14, 2019

Declaring President Trump’s emergency proclamation unlawful, the court held plaintiffs are entitled to a judgment enjoining the Administration’s misuse of funds to construct border barricades not otherwise authorized by Congress.

On October 11, a Texas federal court ruled in favor of Willkie’s clients that President Trump’s proclamation of a national emergency along the US-Mexico border to fund a border wall violated federal law and is invalid because it illegally sought to override Congress’s decision not to fund further border wall construction.

The lawsuit was filed February 20, 2019 in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas in El Paso, by El Paso County, Texas, and the Border Network for Human Rights, after President Trump declared a national emergency and used that declaration to divert defense funding appropriated for other purposes to build the border wall. The suit sought an injunction to block the President’s emergency declaration from taking effect.

Declaring President Trump’s emergency proclamation unlawful, the court held that El Paso County and Border Network for Human Rights are entitled to a judgment enjoining the Administration’s misuse of funds to construct border barricades not otherwise authorized by Congress. Judge David Briones rejected the Administration’s arguments that the President’s actions were unreviewable. The Judge also requested that the plaintiffs file a proposed preliminary injunction specifying its scope to prevent the government from using funds to build border barriers that Congress specifically refused to authorize.

Representing the plaintiffs in this pro bono matter, Willkie is co-counsel in a legal team led by nonpartisan nonprofit Protect Democracy, which also includes the Niskanen Center, former Acting U.S. Attorney General Stuart Gerson, Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe and O’Melveny & Myers.

The Willkie team includes partners Richard Mancino and Shaimaa Hussein and associates Samantha Prince, Jordan Reisch, Michaela Connolly and Madeleine Tayer.