Supreme Court allows border wall construction to continue

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Friday declined a request to halt the Trump administration’s construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border weeks after a lower court ruled that officials had inappropriately diverted funds to the project.

In a 5-4 ruling, the court rejected a request from the Sierra Club and Southern Border Communities Coalition that would have seen construction paused, according to The Associated Press. The vote fell along ideological lines, with the court’s four liberal justices -- Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer -- dissenting.

In a short dissent, Breyer said the government appeared to have already finalized contracts for building the portions of the wall in question, “avoiding the irreparable harm it claimed” when the court initially agreed to allow construction to continue last year.

"The court's decision to let construction continue nevertheless, I fear, may operate as a final judgement," he wrote.

The decision comes a month after a federal appeals court ruled that the Trump administration improperly diverted $2.5 billion from Pentagon funding into border wall construction, according to CNN.

The case has its origins in the 35-day partial government shutdown that started in December 2018 and ended after Congress gave President Donald Trump approximately $1.4 billion in border wall funding. Afterward, Trump declared a national emergency to take cash from other government accounts to use to construct sections of wall, including $2.5 billion from the Defense Department.

Last summer, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to allow construction on the border wall to proceed despite concerns that the reallocation of the funds went against the will of Congress, according to The Washington Post. The newspaper reported Friday that a majority of the funds have already been spent.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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