According to an Associated Press report, an appeals court last week upheld a freeze on the use of Pentagon money to build the U.S-Mexico border wall, casting doubt on the Trump administration's ability to make good on a signature campaign promise prior to the 2020 Presidential election.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco agreed with a lower court ruling that barred the government from using Defense Department counter-drug money to build sections of the wall that the administration had deemed a high priority. The sections are located along the southern borders of Arizona, California and New Mexico.
The decision is yet another setback for Trump's ambitious but controversial border wall project - one which has led to a now years-long struggle between the administration and Congress. The most recent salvos in the battle included a threat last fall to kill any proposed infrastructure legislation unless the federal spending bill contained the billions Trump requested, as well as the President's refusal to sign a short-term government spending bill last December because the requested funding was not included. This move ultimately led to a 35-day government shutdown, at the conclusion of which the President declared a national emergency in an effort to bypass Congress and free billions of dollars needed from the Pentagon. However, it ultimately led to the legal challenge now passing through the courts.
The case may still be considered, but the Trump administration cannot build until the legal challenge has worked itself through the court system. Even if a higher court rules in his favor, it is becoming increasingly unlikely the decision would come in time to move the project forward prior to next year's election cycle.