OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
The Biden administration suffered another defeat in its attempt to undo a Trump-era policy.
The U.S. Supreme Court remanded a case back to a lower court regarding a resumption of funding for the border wall.
“The remand punts challenges to the border wall from the Sierra Club, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and others who previously scored court victories determining that Trump inappropriately designated military funding for construction of the wall,” The Hill reported.
“The high court vacated the earlier rulings “in light of the changed circumstances in this case,” siding with a Biden administration request that noted that the president on his inauguration day signed an order prohibiting border wall construction,” the report added. “At issue in the case was some $3.6 billion in funding that the Biden administration has since designated for 66 different military construction projects that had been deferred. Groups had challenged Trump’s use of an emergency declaration to divert the funds — something both a district court and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals found improper.”
“The Supreme Court returned the case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ‘with instructions to direct the District Court to vacate its judgments,’ the Supreme Court wrote in its Monday order,” Newsweek reported.
A 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel let the ruling of a lower court stand, writing, “The panel affirmed the district court’s judgment holding that budgetary transfers of funds for the construction of a wall on the southern border of the United States in California and New Mexico were not authorized under the Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2019.”
The appeals court also based its ruling on environmental claims made by California and New Mexico in the June 2020 affirmation of the lower court:
Concerning the injury in fact element of standing, the panel held that California and New Mexico alleged that the actions of the federal defendants will cause particularized and concrete injuries in fact to the environment and wildlife of their respective states as well as to their sovereign interests in enforcing their environmental laws.
First, the panel held that California and New Mexico each provided sufficient evidence, if taken as true, that would allow a reasonable fact-finder to conclude that both states would suffer injuries in fact to their environmental interests, and in particular, to protect endangered species within their borders.
Second, the panel also held that California and New Mexico demonstrated that border wall construction injured their quasi-sovereign interests by preventing them from enforcing their environmental laws.
“The Biden administration had argued that the Supreme Court did not need to weigh in on the border wall funding case because the project was closed down by the new administration,” added Newsweek.