WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump expressed confidence on Tuesday that he would prevail against a lawsuit filed by 16 US states seeking to block his declaration of a national emergency to fund a wall along the US border with Mexico.
The group of states, including California and New York, has charged the president and top officials in his administration with taking away taxpayer funds for their communities to fulfil a promise from his 2016 campaign to curb illegal immigration and the flow of drugs.
Mr Trump’s remarks to reporters in the Oval Office suggested he was not concerned or surprised by the states’ legal challenge.
“I think, in the end, we’re going to be very successful with the lawsuit,” Mr Trump said.
The American Civil Liberties Union on Tuesday filed its own lawsuit in a US District Court in California, alleging that “Trump disregarded the will of Congress with his emergency declaration.”
Legal experts have said challenges to Mr Trump’s emergency declaration, which critics have called unconstitutional, face an uphill and probably losing battle in a showdown likely to be decided by the conservative-majority US Supreme Court.
Mr Trump declared the national emergency under a 1976 law after Congress declined to give him the $5.7 billion he wanted to build parts of the barrier this year.
The president’s demand for wall funding triggered a historic 35-day government shutdown that ended in January. Democrats and Republicans later agreed on a deal to avoid another shutdown with $1.4 billion allocated toward border fencing. Mr Trump agreed to sign that and then declared a national emergency, redirecting an additional $6.7 billion beyond what lawmakers authorised for the project.