With rumors swirling around a potential for President Donald Trump to declare a national emergency in order to get a border wall, Democrats are already looking at filing a lawsuit against the White House, POLITICO reported. While Speaker Nancy Pelosi declined to say precisely how her party would challenge the move, if it happened, but some Democrats gave the American people an idea of what to expect.
“We’ll challenge him in committee hearings. We’ll challenge him in the courts. And we’ll just continue to challenge him and push back because that’s not the way this should be handled,” Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-CA) said.
Other than committee hearings, Democrats would also consider suing the Trump administration for federal overreach and ignoring the appropriations clause in the Constitution, which grants the power of the purse to the House of Representatives.
Here's where things get messy. The Democrats believe they have a case, based on the GOP's 2014 lawsuit against the Obama administration for forcing the Department of Health and Human Services to provide healthcare to those would couldn't afford it. The GOP said Obama circumvented Congress. And the courts agreed.
But this case would be different. And how the Democrats would respond would depend solely on how laid out his national emergency and the wording he used.
Republicans won the battle in court, though the decision was appealed. And former House general counsel Kerry W. Kircher, who led that lawsuit for Republicans, said he expects Democrats could be similarly successful should they challenge Trump for an emergency border wall declaration.
“The decisions were very strong in the House’s favor in that lawsuit,” Kircher said in a Thursday phone interview. “The judge was very resolute that the executive does not get to spend money that Congress has not given it.”
The difference between that case and this situation, however, would be Trump’s use of an emergency declaration. Democrats say their legal challenge would ultimately depend on which statute Trump cites under his justification. Multiple laws give the president the power to move money around to address emergencies or in times of war. The courts would ultimately have to decide whether the border situation constituted an authentic crisis justifying unilateral action.
Although it's not at the forefront of their strategy, Democrats haven't ruled out the potential for an impeachment process.