US President Donald Trump participates in a ceremony commemorating the 200th mile of border wall at the international border with Mexico in San Luis, Arizona, June 23, 2020. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

The Trump administration will be able to continue construction of the US-Mexico border wall after the Supreme Court ruled in the president’s favor on Friday (Picture: AFP)

The Supreme Court ruled that President Donald Trump may continue with his plans to build a multi-billion dollar wall along the US-Mexico border amid ongling legal battles.

The ruling was made in a 5-4 decision along partisan lines on Friday and denied an attempt by environmentalist interest groups to halt construction of the wall after a federal appeals court ruled that using defense funding for the project is illegal.

Friday’s ruling marks the second time Trump v Sierra Club has come before the Supreme Court.

The case first reached the high court in July 2019 after a lower court blocked the Trump administration’s attempt to transfer $2.5 billion in military funding to wall construction,

The Trump administration claimed they were allowed to transfer the funds – which Congress appropriated for military pay, training and other similar matters, – due to a statute permitting the Secretary of Defense to transfer military funds ‘for higher priority items, based on unforseen military requirements.’

However, multiple lower court judges pointed out that there was nothing ‘unforseen’ about Trump’s intention to build the wall, which was a plan he campaigned on heavily in the lead-up to the 2016 election.

A general view shows Mexican security forces (L) keeping watch at the border fence between Mexico and the United States, ahead of the visit of U.S. President Donald Trump to a section of the border wall in Otay Mesa, California, as pictured from Tijuana, Mexico September 18, 2019. REUTERS/Jorge Duenes

Donald Trump declared a national emergency to allocate $2.5 billion in funding to the construction of the wall (Picture: Reuters)

Trump even shut down much of the federal government in late 2018 and early 2019 due to disagreements over how much funding should go to the construction of the wall. Congress initially allocated approximately $1.3 billion in spending for the wall, far short of the $5 billion Trump said he needed, but Trump later allocated $2.5 billion in military funding for the border project.

In a July 2019 ruling, the Supreme Court blocked a lower court decision to stop the transfer of funds to the wall, essentially ruling that the plaintiffs in the case do not have a right to challenge the transfer. The ruling allowed construction on the wall to continue while the case proceeded through the courts.

The case is technically still ongoing, even after Friday’s decision, but Justice Stephen Breyer wrote that he believes the case to halt Trump’s border wall construction is likely over in his dissenting opinion in which he referenced the July 2019 ruling.

‘Just over a year ago, I suggested a “straightforward way” to avoid irreparable harm to the parties in this litigation; stay the District Court’s injunction “only to the extent” that it “prevents the Government from finalizing (relevant) contracts or taking other preparatory administrative action, but leave (the injunction( in place insofar as it precludes the government from disbursing those funds or beginning construction.”‘

‘Now, the Government has apparently finalized its contracts, avoiding the irreparable harm it claimed in first seeking a stay. The Court’s decision to let construction continue nevertheless, I fear, my “operat(e), in effect, as a final judgement.’”

Spokespeople for the ACLU and Sierra Club said they plant to continue fighting for a halt in construction.

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