U.S. Supreme Court allows Pentagon to fund wall on U.S. border, questions Sierra Club’s right to sue

On July 26, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to allow the Pentagon to use military funds to build a wall along the southern border of the United States. The ruling said that groups objecting to the use of money for the border wall had not shown that they have the right to challenge the government’s actions in court.
 
The Supreme Court’s decision temporarily blocked an injunction issued by California District Court Judge Haywood S. Gillam, Jr. until after the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals resolves the case or after the case comes before the U.S. Supreme Court. While the five Republican-appointed justices voted to grant the temporary stay on the injunction, the four Democrat-appointed justices dissented.
 
In February 2019, the Sierra Club and the Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC) sued President Trump and members of his administration. They argued that the courts should not allow officials to construct a barrier on the border using funds appropriated by Congress for the Department of Defense.
 
Judge Gillam issued an injunction in May 2019 that blocked the Trump administration from diverting Department of Defense funds to build sections of the border wall. Gillam ruled that the Sierra Club and SBCC did not need a special right of action to ask for a court order to block executive actions they believed were beyond the executive branch’s legal authority. He held that the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) framework of judicial review did not apply in this case.
 
 



About the author

Jace Lington

Jace Lington is a staff writer at Ballotpedia and can be reached at jace.lington@ballotpedia.org

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