The U.S. Supreme Court weighed in this week on the ongoing fight over funding a wall along the nation’s southern border.
Justices sent the dispute back to lower courts in a development that might first appear to be a victory for former President Donald Trump, who made the wall a cornerstone of his administration.
As Breitbart reported, however, the decision could also open the door for the case to be dismissed altogether.
The nation’s highest court pointed to “changed circumstances” in the case, namely that the Biden administration has canceled further wall construction as well as the related emergency declaration Trump used to divert funds toward the project.
This legal dispute dates back to late 2018 when Congress refused Trump’s request for border wall funding. That led to a standoff resulting in a federal government shutdown.
In 2019, the then-president declared a national emergency and diverted billions of dollars from the Pentagon budget.
Shortly before his term in office ended, Trump petitioned the Supreme Court to offer its opinion after losing in lower federal courts. The high court’s order on Monday suggested it is reluctant to provide a definitive determination.
“Necessary and appropriate”
Justices wrote in a brief order that the court would vacate the appeals court’s ruling against Trump and sent the case back down to the district court level for a ruling about “what further proceedings are necessary and appropriate in light of the changed circumstances in this case.”
The decision effectively wipes away the Trump administration’s prior judicial defeats in the case, though it has no practical effect on the underlying issue of border wall funding.
For his part, Biden has vowed not to finish the wall — and the lower courts could dismiss the case entirely.
Plaintiffs including the American Civil Liberties Union suggested that they will continue litigation in an effort to find appropriate “relief” as justified by the wall project.
Notably, the Supreme Court also shot down a lawsuit seeking to allow House Democrats to sue Trump for undermining legislative powers with his plan to fund the border wall. The Biden administration argued against such power for Congress, suggesting it could lead to disputes between the branches of government.