July 12, 2020

The US Supreme Court rejects environmental lawsuits against the Trump wall



The United States Supreme Court on Monday rejected dealing with the demand of four environmental groups against the government of President Donald Trump to build a wall along the border with Mexico in order to contain illegal migration.

Since his campaign in the 2016 elections and his tenure at the White House, Trump has insisted on the construction of a wall along the 3,200 kilometers of the US border with Mexico and so far his Government has completed works in about 320 kilometers.

The Center for Biological Diversity, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Wildlife Defenders and the Southwest Environmental Center allege that the works would harm wildlife habitats, endangering species such as the cougar, the Mexican gray wolf and cattle.

Trump also promised that Mexico would pay for the construction of the wall and, in the absence of that contribution, the president has resorted to funds already allocated by Congress for military works.

The Supreme Court last year authorized the government to use those Pentagon funds to replace barriers along the border in Arizona, New Mexico, and California.

For its part, the Ninth District Court of Appeals, based in San Francisco, California, ruled last week that the diversion of $ 2.5 billion in funds allocated to the Pentagon violated the Constitution and is illegal.

This decision responded to the lawsuits initiated by California and to which several states joined.

The case dates back to June 2019, when a federal judge in Oakland (California) first blocked this budget item for the construction of the wall, a decision that the Trump Administration appealed and asked the Supreme Court for protection to continue using that money while the case was decided judicially.

A month later, in July, and in a tight decision by five votes to four, the highest court in the US granted the Government’s request and gave the temporary approval to use the 2,500 million, but did not enter to assess the legality of the diversion of the money assigned to the Pentagon.

With the decision of this Friday by the appeals court of the Ninth Circuit -the judicial instance immediately inferior to the Supreme-, therefore, the trajectory of the demand in the inferior circuits is closed and the case will in all probability be transferred back to the Supreme, that this time it will have to rule on the merits of the matter.

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