Supreme Court Stays Lower Court Ruling Against Trump's Border Wall Construction

27 Juillet, 2019, 04:54 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Congress earlier failed to provide US$5.7 billion in wall funding demanded by US President Donald Trump in a showdown in which the president triggered a 35-day partial shutdown of the federal government that ended in January

US District Judge Haywood Gilliam ruled in May that appropriating Defense Department funds for the fight against illegal drugs was unlawful, and issued an injunction barring the use of Pentagon funds.

Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas) on the U.S.'s asylum deal with Guatemala and the Supreme Court's decision to allow President Trump to use Pentagon funds to construct his southern border wall. Justice Stephen Breyer sought to have it both ways, allowing the process to go forward but not the construction: "There is a straightforward way to avoid harm to both the Government and respondents while allowing the litigation to proceed".

Trump responded to the news in a tweet, writing, "Wow!"

Trump called the SCOTUS decision a "Big VICTORY on the Wall".

Department of Justice spokesperson Alexei Woltornist issued a statement saying, "We are pleased that the Supreme Court recognized that the lower courts should not have halted construction of walls on the southern border".

President Trump touted the ruling as a "big win" for border security.

A trial court in Oakland, California, initially froze the funds in May, and an appeals court kept the freeze in place earlier this month. The freeze had prevented the government from tapping approximately $2.5 billion in Defence Department money to replace existing sections of barrier in Arizona, California and New Mexico with more robust fencing.

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The case the Supreme Court ruled in began after the 35-day partial government shutdown that started in December of past year. He subsequently declared a national emergency to get money from other government accounts to construct sections of the wall.

The money Trump identified includes $3.6bn from military construction funds, $2.5bn in defense department money and $600m from the Treasury department's asset forfeiture fund.

Following the Supreme Court's stay on Friday, the ACLU said it will now try to expedite the hearing before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals over the legality of Trump's actions. Another would replace 63 miles in Arizona for $646m. The groups argued the wall - in areas in Arizona, California and New Mexico - would harm the environment.

Solicitor General Noel Francisco noted in court papers that the projects needed to start because the funds at issue "will no longer remain available for obligation after the fiscal year ends on September 30, 2019".

"The $2.5 billion had been shifted from various programs including personnel and recruiting, Minuteman III and air launch cruise missiles, E-3 aircraft upgrades and the Afghan security forces training fund", CNN reported.

Nearly a month ago, a federal judge ruled against Trump and sided with liberal groups who had brought the suit against his plans - one from the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of the Sierra Club and the Southern Border Communities Coalition, while another was brought forth by California in conjunction with 19 other states. The justices who lifted the freeze on the money did not give a lengthy explanation for their decision.

A brief order explaining the court's decision said the government "made a sufficient showing" that the groups challenging the decision did not have grounds to bring a lawsuit.

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