Securing the nation’s southern border with a physical barrier has been a top priority of the Trump administration, though his opponents have attempted to use Congress and the courts to stop various aspects of the project.
One such court battle went the president’s way, however, with a U.S. Supreme Court decision this week rejecting an appeal from plaintiffs that would have halted ongoing construction of a significant portion of the wall, as reported by the Daily Caller.
A 5-4 decision
At issue was a segment of the new barrier being constructed with funds diverted from the U.S. Department of Defense budget.
President Donald Trump used national emergency authority to access funds from various executive branch budgets for this specific use in early 2019 after Congress refused to provide the requested money in the wake of an extended government shutdown.
Critics, however, considered the move an unconstitutional circumvention of Congress and an initial lawsuit resulted in an effort to block the diversion of funds and prevent the wall from being built.
That initial challenge failed last year when the Supreme Court overruled lower courts and allowed the specific project — approximately 100 miles of new wall funded by about $2.5 billion in diverted Pentagon funds — to proceed.
The president’s challengers went on to file another suit, this time including plaintiffs from the Sierra Club and the Southern Border Communities Coalition who were represented by the American Civil Liberties Union.
“A final judgment”
In a 5-4 decision along ideological lines, the liberal wing of the court dissented from the majority with a statement explaining the difference of opinion, according to the Associated Press.
Justice Stephen Breyer wrote that the “Court’s decision to let construction continue nevertheless I fear, may operate, in effect, as a final judgment” on the matter.
The money diverted from the Defense budget had been designated for a stretch of newly constructed wall along the border in parts of Arizona, California, and New Mexico. According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data, about 92 miles of that particular project had been completed as of the end of July.
According to Reuters, some of the funding was also earmarked for use in providing additional fencing, lighting, and access roads in areas that had been identified as drug-smuggling corridors.
Trump’s fight for a border wall dates back to the earliest days of his 2016 presidential bid. Despite the opposition he has encountered along the way, victories like this one put him in a position to make good on those promises.