United States District Court, W.D. Texas, El Paso Division
EL PASO COUNTY, TEXAS and BORDER NETWORK FOR HUMAN RIGHTS, Plaintiffs,
DONALD J. TRUMP, in his official capacity as President of the United States of America, et al., Defendants.
HONORABLE DAVID BRIONES SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
October 11, 2019, the Court issued a Memorandum Opinion
granting Plaintiffs El Paso County, Texas, ("El Paso
County") and Border Network for Human Rights's
("BNHR") (collectively, "Plaintiffs")
"Motion for Summary Judgment or, in the alternative, a
Preliminary Injunction" ("Motion for Summary
Judgment") and denying Defendants Donald J. Trump,
Mark T. Esper, Chad F. Wolf, David Bernhardt, Steven T.
Mnuchin, William Barr, John F. Bash, and Todd T.
Semonite's (collectively, "Defendants")
"Cross-Motion to Dismiss or for Summary Judgment, and
Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment and
a Preliminary Injunction." Mem. Op., ECF No. 129.
Therein, the Court ordered Plaintiffs to file a proposed
preliminary injunction specifying the scope of said
injunction and Defendants were given an opportunity to
respond. Id. at 33.
day, the Court considered Plaintiffs' "Supplemental
Brief Addressing Scope of Remedy" ("Plaintiffs'
Supplemental Brief) filed in the above-captioned case on
October 21, 2019. ECF No. 130. The Plaintiffs were granted
leave to file an Amended Proposed Order on October 24, 2019.
ECF No. 132. On October 28, 2019, Defendants filed their
"Supplemental Brief Addressing Scope of Remedy"
("Defendants' Supplemental Brief). ECF No. 134.
After due consideration, the Court is of the opinion that a
declaratory judgment and permanent injunction shall be
granted in Plaintiffs' favor.
October 11, 2019, this Court held that Plaintiffs had
standing to sue Defendants. Mem. Op. 32, ECF No. 129.
Further, it held that because the Presidential Proclamation
on Declaring a National Emergency Concerning the Southern
Border of the United States ("the Proclamation")
seeks additional funds for border barrier funding in
violation of the 2019 Consolidated Appropriations Act
("CAA") generally and § 739 of the CAA
specifically, it is unlawful. Id.
opinion, the Court requested that Plaintiffs "file a
proposed preliminary injunction specifying the scope of said
injunction." Id. at 33. In Plaintiffs'
Supplemental Brief, Plaintiffs ask the Court to:
(1) issue a declaratory judgment that the Proclamation is
unlawful to the extent it authorizes border wall construction
using funds appropriated by the CAA for "military
construction" under 10 U.S.C. § 2808, and that
Defendants' use of funds appropriated by the CAA for
"military construction" under 10 U.S.C. § 2808
and "support for counterdrug activities" under 10
U.S.C. § 284 funds on building a border wall is
(2) permanently enjoin Defendants Esper, [Wolf], Semonite,
Bernhardt, and Mnuchin ("the agency head
Defendants") from using funds appropriated by the CAA
for "military construction" under § 2808 and
"support for counterdrug activities" under §
284 on building a border wall.
Pis.' Supp. Br. 5-6, ECF No. 130.
counter in their Supplemental Brief that the Court should
decline to enter an injunction and should exclude the
Proclamation from the Court's declaratory relief.
Defs.' Supp. Br. .1, 2-3, ECF No. 134. Alternatively, if
the Court did enter any injunctive relief, Defendants argue
that it should enter an administrative stay pending appeal.
Id. at 13-14. The Court disagrees with Defendants
and will not stay its decision to permanently enjoin their
use of § 2808 funds for border barrier funding, though
it will not extend this injunction to § 284 funds.
obtain any injunction, a plaintiff must show:
(1) that [they have] suffered an irreparable injury;
(2) that remedies available at law, such as monetary damages,
are inadequate to compensate for that injury;
(3) that, considering the balance of hardships between the
plaintiff and defendant, a remedy in equity is warranted; and
(4) that the public interest would not be disserved by a
Monsanto Co. v. Geertson Seed Farms, 561 U.S. 139,
156-58 (2010); see also, e.g., eBay Inc. v. MercExchange,
LLC, 547 U.S. 388, 391 (2006), and
Winter v. Nat. Res. Def. Council, 555
U.S. 7, 32-33 (2008). "[I]njunctive relief is a drastic
remedy, not to be applied as a matter of course." O
'Donnell v. Harris Cty., 892 F.3d 147, 155 (5th Cir.
2018) (quoting Marshall v. Goodyear Tire &
Rubber Co., 554 F.2d 730, 733 (5th Cir. 1977)) (internal
relief never "follow[s] from success on the merits as a
matter of course," Winter, 555 U.S. at 32, and,
"[a]s with any equity case, the nature of the violation
determines the scope of the remedy." Swann v.
Charlotte-Mecklemburg Bd. of Ed., 402 U.S. 1, 16(1971).
As such, an injunction "should be no more burdensome to
the defendant than necessary to provide complete
relief." Califano v. Yamasaki, 442 U.S. 682,
702 (1979); see also John Doe #1 v.
Veneman, 380 F.3d 807, 818 (5th Cir. 2004) ("The
district court must narrowly tailor an injunction to remedy
the specific action which gives rise to the order.").
"[t]he existence of another adequate remedy does not
preclude a declaratory judgment that is otherwise
appropriate." Fed.R.Civ.P. 57. A declaratory judgment is
appropriate when it will "terminate the
controversy" giving rise to the proceeding. Fed.R.Civ.P.
57 advisory committee's 1937 note. It is within the
discretion of a trial court to grant declaratory relief on
motion of party. Delno v. Market St. R. Co., 124
F.2d 965, 967 (9th Cir. 1942) (citing § 6 of the Uniform
Declaratory Judgment Act).
begin, Plaintiffs argue that the Court should issue a
declaratory judgment that the Proclamation's invocation
of § 2808 and the Defendants' use of §§
2808 and 284 funds on the border wall are unlawful. Pls.'
Supp. Br. 2, ECF No. 130. This declaratory judgment and the
permanent injunction would only need to issue against the
agency head Defendants, rather than the President himself.
Id. at 2 n. 1.
Plaintiffs assert that a permanent, rather than preliminary,
injunction should issue to stop the agency head Defendants
from using these funds for border wall construction because
the Court's grant of Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary
Judgment was a final judgment ending the litigation on the
merits. Id. at 3. Finally, Plaintiffs go through the
permanent injunction factors and describe how they meet each.
Id. at 4-7.
response, Defendants call Plaintiffs' requested
injunction overbroad and unjustified because Plaintiffs have
failed to demonstrate irreparable injury and the
Government's compelling interests in constructing border
barriers outweigh the Plaintiffs' interests. Defs.'
Supp. Br. 1, ECF No. 134. And Defendants claim that
Plaintiffs' proposed injunction conflicts with the
Supreme Court's recent order staying an injunction that
the District Court for the Northern District of California
entered. Id. at 1-2 (citing Trump v. Sierra
Club, 140 S.Ct. 1 (2019)). Finally, Defendants argue
that the Proclamation should be excluded from the Court's
declaratory judgment as there is no basis for such
extraordinary relief that would necessarily run against
President Trump in his official capacity. Id. at
both sides and the Court agree that any declaratory judgment
shall not run against the President, the Court does not
address the merits of this argument. Instead, the Court
discusses the merits of a declaratory judgment against the
agency head Defendants. Then, because the Court's
injunction § 2808 funds does not conflict with Supreme
Court precedent, the Court weighs the permanent injunction
factors to conclude that a permanent injunction shall be