Federal Appeals Court Wrestles With Lawsuit Seeking to Block Border Projects in California

A federal appeals court appeared uncertain Tuesday whether it had authority to weigh in on a dispute about the Trump administration’s plans to replace border fencing in California.

California and several environmental groups challenged the projects, arguing that the administration lacks authority to build them and illegally waived environmental requirements and other laws in a rush to establish new barriers on the border.

The administration counters that it has wide discretion under a 2005 federal law that gave the Department of Homeland Security the ability to waive enforcement of environmental rules and other laws that can stymie border construction projects.

During a hearing in Pasadena, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals questioned lawyers about the precise wording of the federal law and how to interpret it.

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