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A federal judge in D.C. has rejected an effort by House Democrats to block President Trump's use of emergency powers to reprogram military funds for his border wall.

"This is a case about whether one chamber of Congress has the “constitutional means” to conscript the Judiciary in a political turf war with the President over the implementation of legislation. ... [W]hile the Constitution bestows upon Members of the House many powers, it does not grant them standing to hale the Executive Branch into court claiming a dilution of Congress’s legislative authority. The Court therefore lacks jurisdiction to hear the House’s claims and will deny its motion."
— Judge Trevor McFadden

Context: Per the judge's opinion, the House was attempting to block the administration "from spending certain funds to build a wall along our southern border. The House argues that this expenditure would violate the Appropriations Clause of the Constitution 2 and usurp Congress’s authority. This harm, the House suggests, constitutes an 'institutional injury' supporting Article III standing."

  • The administration, meanwhile, argued that the court cannot intervene "because the Constitution grants the House no standing to litigate these claims."
  • The judge sided with the administration, adding: "To be clear, the Court does not imply that Congress may never sue the Executive to protect its powers." But he argues that House Democrats do not, in this case, overcome the constitutional burden to establish they have standing in this lawsuit.

Why it matters: It's a much needed legal victory for the Trump administration, which has lost two consecutive court battles with Democrats related to subpoenas for the president's financial records.

Read the judge's full opinion:

Go deeper

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Kevin McCarthy's rude awakening

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Kevin McCarthy is learning you can get torched when you try to make everyone happy, especially after an insurrection.

Why it matters: The House Republican leader had been hoping to use this year to build toward taking the majority in 2022, but his efforts to bridge intra-party divisiveness over the Capitol siege have him taking heat from every direction, eroding his stature both with the public and within his party.

The next big political war: redistricting

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Democrats are preparing a mix of tech and legal strategies to combat expected gerrymandering by Republicans, who are planning to go on legal offense themselves.

Why it matters: Democrats failed to regain a single state legislature on Election Day, while Republicans upped their control to 30 states' Houses and Senates. In the majority of states, legislatures draw new congressional district lines, which can boost a party's candidates for the next decade.

41 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Vaccinations, relief timing dominate Sweet 16 call

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) speaks during a news conference in December with a group of bipartisan lawmakers. Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Vaccine distribution, pandemic data and a cross-party comity dominated today's virtual meeting between White House officials and a bipartisan group of 16 senators, Senator Angus King told Axios.

Why it matters: Given Democrats' razor-thin majority in both chambers of Congress, President Biden will have to rely heavily on this group of centrist lawmakers — dubbed the "Sweet 16" — to pass any substantial legislation.