Trump’s Wall Construction Will Continue, SCOTUS Tells Environmental Groups Fighting to Preserve Species and Land


Image via AP Photo/Evan Vucci

By Araceli Cruz

July 1, 2020

The Supreme Court refused to hear a case by four environmental groups trying to halt the construction of the border wall.

On Monday, the Supreme Court of the United States declined to hear a case by environmental groups that aimed to stop the construction of the border wall to preserve endangered species and land. The appeal involved a stretch of development of steel-bollard walls along 145 miles of Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas, on the U.S./Mexico border.

Last year, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the Defenders of Wildlife, and the Southwest Environmental Center asked the SCOTUS to review federal court rulings that allowed the Trump administration to waive dozens of environmental, health and safety laws to speed construction

Jean Su, the lead attorney on behalf of the Center for Biological Diversity, told The Americano that they were displeased over Monday’s rejection by the SCOTUS.

Related: Trump Takes Another $3.8 Billion From the Military to Fund His Wall

“We’re disappointed that the Supreme Court won’t consider the Trump administration’s flagrant abuse of the law to fast-track border wall construction,” said Su. “This administration has made a mockery of the Constitution to build an enormously destructive wall. We’ll continue to fight these illegal waivers and do everything possible to prevent further damage to the beautiful borderlands.”

Like Su, Jason Rylander, senior endangered species counsel at Defenders of Wildlife, said he too is disappointed with Monday’s outcome. However, their fight to protect the animals that live along the border, such as jaguars, Mexican gray wolves, and ocelots, will continue. He said they would explore other legal avenues for slowing and halting the border wall. 

“We have brought some form of this argument to the Supreme Court three times, and each time the court has refused to take it,” Rylander told The Americano. “That doesn’t mean there won’t be another opportunity. But at this particular moment, we have made no decisions on how to do that or whether there’s an appropriate case about trying to make those same constitutional arguments. But we have other cases pending which are challenging the [Trump] administration’s diversion of funds that Congress has appropriated for other military uses.”

Related: A Company Favored by Trump Got $1.3 Billion Contract for Border Wall

Last year, the SCOTUS ruled that $2.5 billion in Pentagon money could be used for border wall construction. President Donald Trump boasted the move as a “victory” on Twitter. While the president may be getting funding for his $11 billion project, that doesn’t mean the wall will ever get completed.

A majority of funds allocated for the wall is being spent on other things instead of construction. Mother Jones magazine reports that “In Trumpian fashion, the project has been characterized by cost overruns, lawsuits, sycophantic contractors, and a notoriously ineffective (and incomplete) final product.” 

Rylander said these setbacks in construction could help their cause and save the endangered species, even more so if Trump loses his re-election.

“If there’s a change in administration next year, they may have different priorities or a change in the Senate next year, then funding for this project could be halted,” Rylander said. “Our view has always been that delay is our friend.” 


  • Araceli Cruz

    Araceli is Copper Courier's social media manager. Her past work has been published in The Guardian, Teen Vogue, Refinery29, Mic, The Cut, Zora, The Village Voice, Rolling Stone, and others.



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