Victory! Supreme Court Refuses to Halt Border Wall Construction

Press Releases

August 3, 2020

Majority agrees with IRLI’s brief

WASHINGTON—The United States Supreme Court gave a victory to supporters of a border wall on July 31, refusing to halt construction of new wall along the southern border.

The Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), on behalf of Congressman Andy Barr of Kentucky, had filed an emergency friend-of-the-court brief in the Court urging the justices to deny the bid by activist groups to defund the Trump administration’s signature immigration action.

The groups, which include the Sierra Club, claim that the wall injures their aesthetic enjoyment of the border, and that the administration’s transfer of military funds to build the wall, following the President’s declaration of a national emergency at the border, violated appropriations statutes. They obtained a preliminary injunction in a California district court, but last year the Supreme Court stayed that injunction pending appeal, allowing the administration to keep building the wall until the case is finally resolved.

Since then, the district court has issued a permanent injunction, which was affirmed by the Ninth Circuit. What the Supreme Court decided on Friday was to deny the plaintiffs’ bid to lift the Court’s original stay, which also had applied (and now will go on applying) to that permanent injunction. As a result, wall-building will continue uninterrupted until the final merits of the case are decided by the Supreme Court.

In his dissent, Justice Stephen Breyer indicated that, because the wall might be finished before the Court decides the case, the plaintiffs’ efforts in the case may now have met their end, writing that “the court’s decision to let construction continue . . ., I fear, may operate, in effect, as a final judgment.”

“This case was doomed to eventual failure from the start,” said Dale Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI. “Its only real purpose—delay—has now failed, too. We applaud the Court for wisely refusing to stop wall-building for years just because a radical district court judge issued a meritless injunction. Now, more than ever, time is on Trump’s side, as it should be.”

The case is Trump v. Sierra Club, No. 19A60 (Supreme Court).

For additional information, contact: Brian Lonergan • 202-232-5590 • blonergan@irli.org

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