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‘No one is above the law’: Federal court slaps down Trump’s money grab

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- Commentary
(AFP / SAUL LOEB)

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals handed President Donald Trump another rebuke Friday by ruling that the administration’s efforts to redirect previously appropriated Pentagon funds towards his border wall was an unlawful violation of the Constitution.

“These funds were appropriated for other purposes, and the transfer amounted to ‘drawing funds from the Treasury without authorization by statute and thus violating the Appropriations Clause,'” wrote Chief U.S. Circuit Judge Sidney Thomas in the majority opinion. “Therefore, the transfer of funds here was unlawful.”

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According to the 2 to 1 decision authored by Thomas, “the border wall was not an unforeseen military requirement, and that funding for the wall had been denied by Congress. Absent such statutory authority, the Executive Branch lacked independent constitutional authority to transfer the funds at issue here.”

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, among those who have challenged the legality of Trump’s redirection of the funds, welcomed the decision, saying the “court reminded the president—once again—that no one is above the law.”

The ruling came in a lawsuit, Sierra Club v. Trump, which was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of the Sierra Club and Southern Border Communities Coalition. Though the Trump administration is certain to appeal the ruling, the ACLU said the court’s decision was a clear vindication for the merits of the legal challenge brought.

“This ruling is a win for the rule of law, the environment, and border communities,” Dror Ladin, staff attorney with the ACLU’s National Security Project, said in a statement. “President Trump’s xenophobic wall is already leveling protected lands, desecrating cultural sites, and destroying wildlife. There’s no undoing the damage that’s been done, but we will be back before the Supreme Court to finally put a stop to this destructive wall.”

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Gloria Smith, managing attorney at the Sierra Club, applauded the ruling as “monumental for our border communities and desert wildlands” that stretch along the U.S.-Mexico border.

“We should be protecting communities, our democracy, and the environment, not tearing these things apart as Trump hoped to do,” said Smith.  “We rise with border communities to stop this administration from further inflicting its relentless agenda– harming the people and places we know and love.”

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2020 Election

Lindsey Graham announces Amy Coney Barrett hearings — full Senate vote could occur days before the election

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Senate Judiciary Committee Lindsey Graham (R-SC) announced on Saturday that confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett would commence on October 12th.

Graham made the announcement on Fox News, hours after Trump officially nominated Barrett to fill the U.S. Supreme Court seat vacated by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Shortly after Graham made the announcement on Fox News, the Judiciary Committee confirmed the timeline, CNN's Phil Mattingly reported.

https://twitter.com/Phil_Mattingly/status/1310025495623409674

PBS Newshour correspondent Lisa Desjardins did the math on confirmation hearings beginning on October 12th and concluded the final Senate vote could occur on October 28th or 29th -- which are the Wednesday and Thursday immediately preceding the Novermber 2nd election.

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2020 Election

Trump whines press didn’t cover the ‘two Nobel Prizes’ — that he didn’t win

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The leader of the free world spoke of the Nobel Peace Prize as if he had repeatedly won the award.

Trump made the complaints he has not received the recognition he thinks he deserves during a campaign rally in Middletown, Pennsylvania.

"They didn't cover two Nobel Prizes," Trump says he told first lady Melania Trump. "I got two in one week, did you ever hear of that?"

Trump received two nominations, he has never won a Nobel Peace Prize.

"And my only complaint is, I should have gotten about seven or eight, because if you knew some of the other things -- some of the other things I have done much better," Trump argued, despite having not won the award a single time. "I should have gotten seven."

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2020 Election

Senate Dems blast ‘corrupt’ nomination of Amy Coney Barrett: ‘This entire process is illegitimate’

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President Donald Trump on Saturday nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the United States Supreme Court -- and Democrats were livid.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) linked the nomination to the Affordable Care Act and the COVID-19 pandemic.

"A vote for Judge Amy Coney Barrett is a vote to eliminate health care for millions in the middle of a pandemic," Schumer wrote. "Democrats are fighting for Americans' health care."

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), the ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, ripped the nomination for coming so close to the election.

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