In a June ruling, U.S. District Judge Haywood S. Gilliam Jr. said the question was not “whether the plan is the right or wrong policy response to the existing conditions at the southern border” and the court “does not express any view as to them.” The question was whether the president exceeded his authority. Gilliam said he did, issuing a permanent injunction in June that blocked the transfer of $2.5 billion from the Pentagon’s personnel accounts toward the border wall, including projects in the Yuma and Tucson sectors of the border. A divided panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that injunction earlier this month. But the Supreme Court voted 5-3 late Friday, with one partial dissent, to grant the government’s emergency request to block that injunction while the case works its way through the lower courts. Advocates criticized the high court’s ruling. “It’s problematic that there’s a message being sent that the president can proceed even though congress has said, ‘No,'” said Clarissa Martinez de Castro, the deputy vice president of policy and advocacy at UnidosUS. “Regardless of what the Supreme Court may say about whether you may or may not be able to do something, I think the primordial question remains: Just because you can waste billions in taxpayer dollars, should you? And that answer is no,” Martinez de Castro said. But Dan Stein of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which advocates for limited immigration, said Trump made the right move in the face of congressional opposition. “The idea that Congress, sitting on its hands, is going to allow the country to literally be overwhelmed by people ignoring our laws – drug traffickers, cartels and others,” Stein said Monday. “Therefore it’s an appropriate exercise of his authority to reprogram funds by building a wall on the border.” That does not mean construction is about to begin – the government argued that it needed the injunction to be lifted so that it could award construction contracts before the September 30 end of the fiscal year.
Wow! Big VICTORY on the Wall. The United States Supreme Court overturns lower court injunction, allows Southern Border Wall to proceed. Big WIN for Border Security and the Rule of Law!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2019
Sierra Club managing attorney Gloria Smith said opponents would continue oppose contruction of a barrier that will “wall off and destroy communities, public lands, and waters in California, New Mexico, and Arizona.” Martinez de Castro called the project “a symbol of waste.” But Stein said a wall is long overdue. “There’s nothing like good old-fashioned bricks and mortar to build a wall to deter and channel the flow of people coming illegally, drug traffickers and others,” he said. “And that’s what’s needed.” For more stories from Cronkite News, visit cronkitenews.azpbs.org.
After SCOTUS granted Trump admin request to unfreeze $2.5 bil in military funds for border wall construction, w/ @SBCCoalition, @ACLU, we announced we'll seek to expedite proceedings to restore perm. block on construction using these unauthorized funds. https://t.co/f6jeerohaO— Sierra Club (@SierraClub) July 26, 2019
This story originally appeared on Cronkite News and is published via a Creative Commons license. Cronkite News is produced by the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.