What You Need To Know
- The Supreme Court on Friday granted President Donald Trump to transfer billions of dollars of military funding to construct hundreds of miles of fence accompanying the U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona, California and New Mexico.
- The funding transference was questioned by the environmental nonprofit Sierra Club and a border area advocacy organization in February, soon after Trump proclaimed he would go ahead with proposals to erect the wall notwithstanding opposition from Congress.
- The battle over border wall funding sparked the most continued federal government shutdown in American history.
WASHINGTON (PM) — The Supreme Court on Friday released President Donald Trump to transfer billions of dollars of military funding in order to assemble hundreds of miles of wall along the U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona, California, and New Mexico.
The funding transference was questioned by the environmental nonprofit Sierra Club and a border area advocacy organization in February, soon after Trump proclaimed he would go ahead with proposals to erect the wall notwithstanding opposition from Congress. The funding had been suspended per lower courts’ rulings.
The US Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision allowed the funding shift, with Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan dissenting. Justice Stephen Breyer dissented in part, declaring he would support the transfer of funds but would not have the construction of the wall start just yet.
A brief order interpreting the court’s decision stated the government “made a sufficient showing” that the organizations disputing the decision did not have legal grounds to begin a lawsuit.
Trump hailed the court’s decision in a tweet Friday, proclaiming it a triumph for “border security and the rule of law.”
The fight over border wall funding ignited the most protracted federal government shutdown in US history. Congress eventually earmarked about $1.4 billion in border wall funding to be deployed in Texas, far short of the $6 billion the administration sought.
Trump consequently declared a national emergency at the southern border and insisted that the declaration would make accessible the full $6 billion, including $2.5 billion shifted from the Department of Defense.
A federal district court in California prevented the funds transfer in June. District Judge Haywood Gillium recorded that Congress “struck what it considered to be the proper balance — in the public’s interest — by making available only $1.375 billion in funding.”
The Justice Department urged the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn the lower court’s order, but it declined to do so, deciding to deny the administration in early July by a vote of 2-1.
On July 12, the administration took its case to the Supreme Court. In a petition with the justices, Solicitor General Noel Francisco maintained that the wall funding is essential “to stanch the flow of illegal drugs across the southern border.”
Those concerns overweigh “whatever aesthetic and recreational injuries respondents and their members may incur” if the wall is created, Francisco communicated.
Breyer, in an opinion published Friday, said the development of the border wall would “cause irreparable harm to the environment,” but that denying the transfer of funding would entail a final judgment on the matter. Breyer penned:
“If we instead deny the stay, however, it is the Government that may be irreparably harmed. The Government has represented that, if it is unable to finalize the contracts by September 30, then the funds at issue will be returned to the Treasury and the injunction will have operated, in effect, as a final judgment. … I can therefore find no justification for granting the stay in full, as the majority does.”