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San Diego Federal Judge Curiel Rules In Favor Of Government In Border Wall Construction Case

A photo of the U.S.-Mexico border wall in San Diego, Aug. 16, 2017.

Photo by Brandon Quester/inewsource

Above: A photo of the U.S.-Mexico border wall in San Diego, Aug. 16, 2017.

San Diego Federal Judge Curiel Rules In Favor Of Government In Border Wall Construction Case

GUEST:

Jean Guerrero, Fronteras reporter, KPBS News

Transcript

A federal judge in San Diego ruled in favor of the U.S. government on Tuesday in a lawsuit that challenges the Trump administration’s effort to bypass environmental and other laws to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

RELATED: America's Wall: Decades-Long Struggle To Secure US-Mexico Border

Judge Gonzalo Curiel said he does not have “serious constitutional doubts” regarding a statute that grants Homeland Security the authority to waive environmental laws for border security infrastructure.

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BORDER INFRASTRUCTURE ENVIRONMENTAL LITIGATION

BORDER INFRASTRUCTURE ENVIRONMENTAL LITIGATION

Judge Gonzalo Curiel's decision on the U.S.-Mexico border wall.

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“In its review of this case, the court cannot and does not consider whether underlying decisions to construct the border barriers are politically wise or prudent,” he wrote in his 101-page decision.

He quoted Chief Justice Roberts: “Court(s) are vested with the authority to interpret the law … It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.”

Curiel also noted that previous amendments to the statute broadening the government's waiver authority in 2005 were upheld as constitutional.

RELATED: Ruling Expected Soon In Trump Border-Wall Case

A senior attorney for one of the plaintiffs, the Center for Biological Diversity, said the environmental organization plans to appeal the ruling with the Supreme Court.

“The Trump administration has completely overreached its authority in its rush to build this destructive, senseless wall," Brian Segee said. "They’re giving unprecedented, sweeping power to an unelected agency chief to ignore dozens of laws and crash through hundreds of miles of spectacular borderlands. This is unconstitutional and shouldn’t be allowed to stand.”

He called the ruling "disappointing," saying it "would allow Trump to shrug off crucial environmental laws that protect people and wildlife."

Other plaintiffs included the California Attorney General, the California Coastal Commission and others.

In 2016, Curiel became famous after then-presidential candidate Donald Trump repeatedly criticized him as biased saying, “He’s a Mexican.”

A federal judge in San Diego ruled in favor of the U.S. government on Tuesday in a lawsuit that challenges the Trump administration’s effort to bypass environmental and other laws to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

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