The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed the lawsuit by environmental groups against the wall on the border with Mexico, the dream project of President Donald Trump to stop illegal migration, even if it means going over the environment.
The Center for Biological Diversity, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the Wildlife Advocates and the Southwest Environmental Center alleged that the work would harm wildlife habitats by endangered species such as the puma, the Mexican grey wolf and cattle.
The plaintiffs, who also sued for the use in the construction of fences along the border of 7.2 billion dollars in funds allocated by Congress for military spending, questioned decisions by the Trump administration, which in their opinion scrapped dozens of environmental and public health laws to speed up the work.
“We are disappointed that the Supreme Court will not consider the Trump administration’s blatant abuse of the law to speed up the construction of the border fence,” Jean Su, a lawyer with the Center for Biological Diversity, told CNN. “This government has flouted the constitution to build a hugely destructive wall.
Since his 2016 election campaign and his tenure in the White House, Trump has insisted on the construction of a wall along the 2,000 mile U.S.-Mexico border.
The Department of Homeland Security reported June 19 that the 320 kilometres of work done consists mainly of replacing outdated or deteriorating structures, and only 3.2 kilometres of new wall system has been built on sites where there were previously no barriers.
Four days later, during a visit to the Border Patrol station in Yuma, Ariz., Trump promised that he will complete “nearly 500 miles” of the wall before the end of this year.
Trump also promised that Mexico would pay for the construction of the wall, and in the absence of that contribution, the president has spent some $15 billion and, since declaring a national emergency last year, has turned to funds that Congress had approved for military work.
Despite the positive news received on Monday from the High Court, the project faces other judicial challenges.
Last March, 19 states filed another lawsuit against Trump in the Ninth District Court of Appeals in northern California for the use of military funds, claiming that the diversion of resources “will cause damage to their states’ economies.
The lawsuit involves California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin.
In late February, the ACLU, the Sierra Club, and the Border Communities Coalition filed a lawsuit in court against the Trump government for the most recent reallocation of funds for the wall.
The Ninth District last week ruled that the diversion of $2.5 billion in funds allocated to the Pentagon violated the Constitution and is illegal.
This decision was in response to lawsuits filed by California and joined by several states and noted that the transfer of funds ignored the authority of Congress to allocate resources.
The case dates back to June 2019, when a federal judge in Oakland, California, first blocked this budget line for the construction of the fence, a decision that the Trump Administration appealed and asked the Supreme Court for relief so that the money could continue to be used while the case was being decided in court.
A month later, in July, and in a tight decision by five votes to four, the highest U.S. court granted the government’s request and gave temporary approval for the use of the 2.5 billion, but did not assess the legality of the diversion of money allocated to the Pentagon.
With the decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals – the court immediately below the Supreme Court – the trajectory of the lawsuit in the lower circuits is closed and the case will most likely be transferred again to the Supreme Court, which this time will have to rule on the merits.