Will the Supreme Court Unblock the Wall—for Good?

Press Releases

September 9, 2020

IRLI, Rep. Barr urge High Court to rule on lower court’s injunction

WASHINGTON—Last summer, the Supreme Court of the United States stayed—or suspended—an injunction a California federal district court had issued against the Trump administration’s transfer of defense funds to build a border wall. That decision—and a like decision by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in a related case—has allowed the administration to keep building the wall while the cases against it wind their way through the courts. The Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), on behalf of Congressman Andy Barr of Kentucky, had filed briefs in both courts in support of the stays.

Now the case involving the injunction that the Supreme Court stayed is again at that Court’s door, where IRLI, again on Rep. Barr’s behalf, has filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of the administration’s petition asking the Court to review a decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upholding the injunction.

In IRLI’s brief, Rep. Barr shows that the plaintiff, the Sierra Club, lacks standing to challenge military spending decisions based on its aesthetic objections to the military construction projects being built. It is basic to the law of standing that, to sue under a given statute, a plaintiff must claim that a right conferred on him by that statute has been violated. Here, the military appropriations statute the Sierra Club is suing under does not confer on it, or anyone else, any rights to aesthetic enjoyment.

“It is beyond ridiculous that a group like the Sierra Club should be able to halt a military construction project because it doesn’t like the way it looks,” said Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI. “That may make sense under environmental protection laws, but not under the military appropriations statutes they are suing under. It is particularly ironic that the Sierra Club is bringing this suit, because illegal aliens cause far more environmental destruction—including massive amounts of trash in our national parks—than any border wall could. We hope the Supreme Court recognizes the major stretch this lawsuit is, takes up this case, and puts an end to this overreaching injunction once and for all.”

The case is Sierra Club v. Trump, No. 20-138 (Supreme Court).

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

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