The legal battle for funding for the Department of Defense comes from Trump’s national emergency statement on the US-Mexico border last year. Trump extended the statement last February, even as border arrests began to decline.
“The executive branch did not have an independent constitutional authority to approve the transfer of money,” Chief Justice Sidney Thomas wrote for the majority. “The commission noted that the US Credit Bill of Credit exclusively grants the power of the wallet to Congress. The Commission ruled that the transfer of money violated the Credit Bill and was therefore illegal.”
While Friday’s decision is a victory for environmental groups and states that question the use of military capital, the Supreme Court’s suspension, issued last year that allows the use of funds, remains in force for the time being.
The American Political Freedom Union welcomed Friday’s decision. “President Trump’s xenophobic wall is already leveling protected areas, confirming cultural sites and destroying wildlife,” said Dror Ladin, a staff member at the ACLU’s National Security Program. “There is no reversal of the damage that has been done, but we will return before the Supreme Court to finally stop this catastrophic wall.”
During his three years in office, Trump has faced a number of legal challenges in his border wall and his efforts to bolster the effort with extra money from other government accounts.
However, the President has shown progress on his border wall. The government priced Trump’s first trip to the border in 2020 this week as a celebration of completing 200 miles of a new wall system.
“My government has done more than any administration in history to secure our southern borders. Our borders have never been safer,” he told officials. The administration said it plans to build 450 miles by the end of the year.
The decision allowed the Department of Defense to spend money now, while the court battle over whether the government had the power to divert funds that were not appropriate for the wall. The Supreme Court voted 5-4, according to ideological guidelines, to allow the use of funds during the court’s appeals.
The Justice and Homeland Security departments did not immediately respond to a request for comment.