News from 2021
By Scott Sumner
The following post is purely speculative:
Newly elected President Bernie Sanders asks Congress for money to build homeless shelters. The GOP led Senate refuses to appropriate the funds. In desperation, Sanders declares that homelessness is a national emergency, threatening to spread disease to our largest cities. He cites numerous conservative media outlets when making that claim.
Sanders then diverts $50 billion from the defense budget to the construction of homeless shelters. Conservative activists are outraged, and sue to stop this executive overreach. The case goes to the Supreme Court, where Justices Alito, Thomas, Roberts, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh decide that these activists had no right to challenge a government power grab. Sanders can continue building his homeless shelters.
A fairy tale? Probably. But the following is a true story:
In a 5-4 decision on Friday, the Supreme Court overturned two decisions by a federal judge that had barred the Trump administration from using military money for the wall. The federal judge had ruled the executive branch could not appropriate money for a purpose not specifically authorized by Congress.
. . . The administration argued that such redistribution of government funds was allowable given the president had declared a national emergency at the border in February.
The cases heard by Gilliam were lawsuits brought by the ACLU on behalf of the Sierra Club and Southern Border Communities Coalition, something that became key to the Supreme Court’s decision. In its ruling, the Supreme Court found that private groups are not appropriate parties to challenge the allocation of federal dollars.
Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Clarence Thomas ruled in favor of lifting the Gilliam’s injunction. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor supported the lower court’s decision.
Tell me again why we need “conservative” justices to protect the Constitution.
PS. The decision was partly based on a procedural issue, and further litigation is expected. But the final decision is expected to be the same 5-4 vote.
PPS. Are border walls effective?