- The Washington Times - Friday, July 26, 2019

The Supreme Court gave the go-ahead Friday for President Trump to begin border wall construction while a legal battle rages in lower courts over his emergency wall-building declaration from earlier this year.

The ruling is a major victory for the president, who’d declared the emergency in February, overcame a congressional attempt to stop him, but then saw the courts block him.

“Wow! Big VICTORY on the Wall,” Mr. Trump tweeted. “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!”

Mr. Trump’s lawyers had told the justices they were racing a Sept. 30 deadline for spending the money, and if they didn’t obligate it by then, they would lose the chance to spend it on the wall.

The GOP-appointed justices on the high court agreed and lifted a lower-court blockade.

The case pits the president against Congress, activist groups and Democrat-led states who said the president had overstepped his powers after Congress approved just $1.375 billion for wall-building in 2019, or far less than the $5 billion he’d sought.

After the longest partial government shutdown in history Mr. Trump agreed to sign the spending bill with just $1.375 billion, but immediately announced emergency powers to shift more money, totaling more than $8 billion in wall funding.

Opponents argued that violated Congress’ power of the purse. They said unless Congress specifically included more money, Mr. Trump couldn’t move it around to get what he wanted.

The administration had argued the presumption went the other way. It said Congress gave Mr. Trump powers to shift some money, and unless it specifically banned spending it on the wall, the president is free to use it for that purpose.

A district judge rejected Mr. Trump’s argument, blocking construction. An appeals court allowed the blockade to remain in place.

The high court on Friday didn’t give a reason for overturning the blockade.

Three of the court’s Democratic appointees said they would have left the blockade in place. A fourth Democratic appointee, Justice Stephen G. Breyer, said he would have allowed the administration to conduct planning for the border wall, but not to begin construction itself.

Friday’s ruling is the latest instance of an anti-Trump decision on immigration law by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals being changed by the Supreme Court.

Trump opponents vowed to fight on.

“This is not over,” said Dror Ladin, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union.

The ACLU said it will ask the 9th Circuit, which currently has the full case before it, to speed up proceedings, in an effort to stop as much construction as possible.

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