Supreme Court Allows Trump to Use Pentagon Funds to Build Border Wall

In a Friday decision, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the Trump administration to use reallocated funds from the Pentagon in order to continue the construction of the border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

President Donald Trump's usage of the military funds to build the wall has been the subject of litigation. Some groups, such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Sierra Club, tried to block Trump from using the funds while the lawsuits made their way through the legal system. Although that decision was upheld by a California court in June, the U.S. Supreme Court decided it would not prevent Trump from using the funds in the interim.

In a Friday statement obtained by Newsweek, Managing Attorney at the Sierra Club Gloria Smith said they were "deeply disappointed by today's ruling. The Supreme Court failed to halt the continued construction of Trump's destructive, hate-driven wall."

donald trump, border wall
President Donald Trump shows a photo of the border wall upon arrival at the US Border Patrol station in Yuma, Arizona in June 2020. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty

Staff Attorney with the ACLU's National Security Project Dror Ladin said the organization would continue to fight the construction of the border wall.

"The fight continues," Ladin said in a statement sent to Newsweek on Friday. "We'll be back before the Supreme Court soon to put a stop to Trump's xenophobic border wall once and for all. The administration has admitted that the wall can be taken down if we ultimately prevail, and we will hold them to their word and seek the removal of every mile of unlawful wall built."

"The Supreme Court reaffirmed today that it meant what it said a year ago: special interest groups likely lack any cause of action to sue the Department of Defense from transferring funds, and the Trump Administration should be allowed to build the wall and protect our country while litigation proceeds," said White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany in a Friday statement obtained by Newsweek. "Borders are a non-controversial reality of every sovereign nation, and we plan to defend ours."

Justice Stephen Breyer dissented with the Supreme Court decision as did Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. In his dissenting opinion, Justice Breyer wrote that the U.S. government has "apparently finalized its contracts" and that the decision by the court to allow construction of the wall to continue may "operate, in effect, as a final judgment."

Merits of the case have not yet been weighed by the Supreme Court, which only applies to the $2.5 billion reallocated by the Trump administration from military pay and pension funds. Construction was ordered to be stopped by the California district court decision. A stay was placed on the order by the U.S. Supreme Court which allowed construction to continue.

In February 2019, Trump declared a national emergency in order to gain money to build the wall, claiming undocumented immigrants from Mexico were creating more crime. "We're talking about an invasion of our country with drugs, with human traffickers with all types of criminals and gangs," Trump said at the time.

Trump has also said that the existence of the border wall has prevented the entrance of the coronavirus into the U.S. from Mexico. "It turned out to be very lucky for us that we had the wall or we would have been inundated because they have some big problems there," Trump said in July.

According to information from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 256 miles of the wall has been constructed as of the end of July.

Updated 10:54 p.m. EST 07/31/2020: This story has been updated from White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany.