Appeals court sides with Trump in border wall prototype dispute

A California-based federal appeals court on Monday sided with the Trump administration in lawsuits brought by state and environmental groups brought challenging the U.S. government’s authority to expedite construction of barriers along the border with Mexico.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in a 2-1 ruling said the Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 gives the Department of Homeland Security broad authority to construct the border barriers and waive environmental laws in the process.

The ruling affirms a district court’s decision that allowed the federal government to construct wall “prototypes” and replace 14 miles of primary fencing near San Diego, and replace similar fencing along a three-mile strip near Calexico, Calif.

The appeals court decision also narrows the path for environmental groups to launch legal challenges to President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump to sign executive order promoting artificial intelligence Trump’s new Syria timetable raises concern among key anti-ISIS allies Trump officials considering Mar-a-Lago for next meeting with China’s Xi: report MORE‘s proposed border wall.

The ruling marked a rare win for Trump in the 9th Circuit, a court that became a particular annoyance for the president after judges there blocked his administration’s travel ban and its new asylum policy.

Judge M. Margaret McKeown, a Clinton appointee, issued the court’s majority ruling on Monday. She was joined by Jacqueline Nguyen, an Obama appointee.

Judge Consuelo Callahan, a Georg W. Bush appointee, dissented from her colleagues. She wrote that under her reading of the 1996 law, the district court’s decision can be reviewed only by the Supreme Court.

“If we could reach the merits of these appeals, I would concur in my colleagues’ opinion,” she wrote.

Updated at 2:27 p.m.

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