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Supreme Court allows border wall construction during challenges

Supreme Court allows border wall construction during challenges
The Justice Department said it plans to appeal a lower court's ruling to the Supreme Court in August. File Photo by Ariana Drehsler/UPI | License Photo

July 31 (UPI) -- The Supreme Court on Friday ruled that the Trump administration can proceed with plans to build a portion of the border wall while lawsuits over the use of Pentagon funds to do so plays out in court.

The court voted 5-4 against a challenge by a group of environmental organizations represented by the American Civil Liberties Union.

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The groups sued over the administration's decision to divert $2.5 billion in military funds to carry out the construction of the border wall in Arizona, New Mexico and California.

A federal appeals court ruled last month that the movement of funds violated the Appropriations Clause of the Constitution because Congress originally designated the funds for defense spending, not the Department of Homeland Security. The Justice Department plans to appeal the case to the Supreme Court in August.

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The high court said construction can continue in the meantime.

Justice Stephen Breyer, who dissented, said that by allowing the building to go on, the sections of the wall in question could be completed by time a final decision is made by the court.

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"The court's decision to let construction continue nevertheless, I fear, may operate in effect, as a final judgment," he wrote.

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Trump declared a national emergency in February 2019 due to an influx of migrants along the southern border. As part of the declaration, he directed $2.5 billion from the Department of Defense to spend on border security.

He faced multiple lawsuits and attempts to block the emergency declaration in Congress.

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