- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 22, 2020

The ACLU and Sierra Club filed an emergency request Wednesday for the Supreme Court to step in and halt construction of President Trump’s border wall, saying the administration has lost in nearly every court yet has still managed to build hundreds of miles of fencing.

The demand came just days after a federal appeals court ruled Mr. Trump violated core separation of powers limits when he spent more money on the wall than Congress allocated. But the Supreme Court last year said construction could continue while the cases are still being argued in lower courts.

The Sierra Club and the American Civil Liberties Union said the administration is using that window of opportunity to speed up its building.

“Defendants have spent the past year rushing construction of a border wall that Congress denied and that multiple courts have all found unlawful,” the groups said. “At this juncture, the court’s stay, far from preserving the status quo, will permit defendants to complete their project.”

The border wall was Mr. Trump’s most prominent campaign promise from 2016, and he has fought through myriad obstacles to pursue construction.

As of last week, Homeland Security had built four new miles of wall up along the border and 22 miles of secondary wall set back from the main wall. The department has also replaced 219 miles of outdated walls left over from the Clinton, Bush and Obama years.

Mr. Trump says about 200 more miles are due to be completed by the end of this year, with nearly 300 more miles in the pipeline for future years.

Most of that construction is being done with money Mr. Trump siphoned from Pentagon accounts to go to wall building.

His opponents, including even some Republicans on Capitol Hill, say Congress controls the spending and he has violated key constitutional barriers by spending money lawmakers did not explicitly approve.

The administration argues that Congress never specifically banned him from siphoning the money, and indeed other parts of law allow him to move funds among accounts, so what he did was legal.

Most lower courts have sided with the president’s opponents, but last July the Supreme Court, in one of the cases, ruled that construction should continue until the case reached the high court.

“If the administration succeeds, there will be no border wall construction left to stop by the time the Supreme Court hears this case,” said Dror Ladin, a lawyer with the ACLU. “We’re asking the Supreme Court to join the lower courts and put a stop to the president’s destructive wall obsession before it’s too late.”

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