Supreme Court paves way for Trump administration to use military funds for border wall

The Supreme Court sided with the Trump administration Friday, lifting a freeze put in place by a lower court that had halted its plans to use $2.5 billion in Pentagon funds to build a border wall.

The decision, split along ideological lines, allows the administration to move ahead with plans to use military funds to replace existing fencing in California, Arizona and New Mexico with more robust fencing.

The conservative justices on the court ruled in favor of the administration. Liberal justices Elena Kagan, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Sonia Sotomayor dissented. And Justice Stephen Breyer issued a split decision, agreeing in part with both sides.

The president celebrated the ruling on Twitter: “Wow! Big VICTORY on the Wall. The United States Supreme Court overturns lower court injunction, allows Southern Border Wall to proceed. Big WIN for Border Security and the Rule of Law!”

The ruling means the Trump administration can tap the funds and begin work on four contracts it has awarded.

A trial court initially froze the funds in May and an appeals court kept that freeze in place earlier this month. The Trump administration had asked the Supreme Court to take up the issue.

Earlier this month, a divided three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco agreed with a lower court ruling that prevented the government from tapping Defense Department counterdrug money to build high-priority sections of the planned wall in Arizona, California, and New Mexico.

At stake is billions of dollars that would allow Trump to make progress on a major 2016 campaign promise heading into his race for a second term.

Trump declared a national emergency after losing a funding fight with the Democratic-led House that led to a 35-day government shutdown. Congress agreed to spend nearly $1.4 billion on barriers in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, the busiest corridor for illegal crossings, an amount well below the $5.7 billion the president requested.

Trump grudgingly accepted the money but declared the emergency in order to siphon up to $8.1 billion for wall construction. That amount includes $3.6 billion from military construction funds, $2.5 billion from Defense Department counterdrug activities and $600 million from the Treasury Department’s asset forfeiture fund.

Source: https://www.foxnews.com/politics/supreme-court-paves-way-for-trump-administration-to-use-military-funds-for-border-wall