A federal judge has ruled that the Trump administration is not permitted to continue construction of the border wall between the United States and Mexico, while an appeal is pending.
What's the background?
In February, after Congress refused to provide President Donald Trump with the money he requested to build a border wall, the president declared a national emergency in order to reallocate existing funding for this purpose. In March, the Pentagon announced that it would be reallocating $1 billion in funds it had already received, in order to comply with this national emergency.
On May 24, Judge Haywood Gilliam from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals blocked the Pentagon from using these funds to build a wall.
The Trump administration submitted a request Wednesday to continue working on the wall while it appealed this order. Not doing so, the request argued, "will irreparably harm the Government (and the public) by prohibiting the Government from taking critical steps to stop the flow of illegal drugs from entering the country through the southern border."
It also said that the federal government would be incurring unnecessary costs by having to provide security to the building sites and materials, for an undetermined amount of time without any work being done.
On Thursday, Gilliam denied this request, saying that the administration was not "likely to prevail on the merits of [its] appeal."
Before he was appointed by former President Barack Obama to the 9th Circuit Court, Gilliam had donated $30,000 to Obama and other Democratic candidates. However, he told the Senate Judiciary Committee during his 2014 confirmation hearing that "any personal views would not interfere in any way with my ability to neutrally apply the law."
Trump and the 9th Circuit Court have some history
Trump has criticized the 9th Circuit Court, which is headquartered in San Francisco, for its rulings against his policies in the past, tweeting in November that it was a "complete and total disaster" and "out of control." He also tweeted that there was "much talk over dividing the 9th Circuit in 2 or 3 Circuits" because it was "too big!"