December 12, 2019

Willkie’s pro bono clients – El Paso County, Texas and the nonprofit advocacy group Border Network for Human Rights – obtain a judgment permanently enjoining the Administration’s use of military construction funds for border wall construction.

The United States District Court for the Western District of Texas issued an injunction prohibiting the Trump administration from deploying $3.6 billion in defense funding toward the construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. The order marks another significant victory for the plaintiffs – El Paso County, Texas and the nonprofit advocacy group Border Network for Human Rights – who sought the injunction after the court ruled on October 11 that President’s Trump’s proclamation of a national emergency along the southern border to fund a wall violated federal law and is invalid because it illegally sought to override Congress’s decision not to fund further border wall construction.

The case was initiated in February 2019, when President Trump declared a national emergency at the southern border, which plaintiffs argued violated the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2019 that “prohibits the administration from increasing that funding beyond what Congress expressly approved.” The plaintiffs argued that Congress has constitutional authority to determine how the government spends money and that the president’s emergency proclamation was an attempt to deploy funds that were not appropriated by lawmakers.

Willkie represents the plaintiffs in the pro bono matter, serving as 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.

In granting the injunction, Judge David Briones stated that “because Defendants’ actions are unlawful and the people’s representatives—Congress—declined to augment the border wall budget as Defendants attempt, the public interest would be served by halting them.”

Kristy Parker from Protect Democracy stated that the order affirms that our courts are willing to check the president “when he oversteps his bounds” and that “this is a huge win for democracy and the rule of law.”

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

Read the December 10, 2019 decision here.

Read Willkie’s 10/14/2019 Announcement: Willkie Contributes to Victory in Blocking President Trump’s Emergency Declaration to Fund Border Wall

Read Willkie’s 10/30/2019 Announcement: The American Lawyer Names Richard Mancino “Litigator of the Week”

Related Practice Areas