- The Washington Times - Monday, June 29, 2020

The Supreme Court refused Monday to hear a case involving environmental challenges to President Trump’s border wall plans, giving him a green light to build without having to comply with the Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act and other major protections.

The case does not resolve ongoing challenges over how Mr. Trump is funding the wall, siphoning Pentagon money.

But it does clear challenges that could have limited the speed and location of construction.

The justices rejected the case without comment.

Congress has given the executive branch wide authority to waive some of the country’s most iconic laws in order to build border barriers, and past administrations have flexed that power.

Mr. Trump, though, has pushed the limits with his plans to construct more than 700 miles of new border wall. Homeland Security has cleared the way for construction by waiving everything from the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Antiquities Act, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act and the Eagle Protection Act.

Environmental groups said the law Congress approved allowing those waivers was too broad, effectively turning legislative powers over to the Homeland Security secretary.

“If the capacious Section 102(c) waiver authority does not violate the non-delegation doctrine as it has evolved in modern jurisprudence, then nothing does— and the doctrine is meaningless,” the Center for Biological Diversity, the lead challenger, wrote in a brief asking the high court to hear the case.

But the Trump administration pointed out that Congress does retain powers to limit wall construction — and indeed has done so in spending bills, putting boundaries on what types of fencing could be used and where it could go.

Justice Department lawyers also pointed out that every court to consider the matter has backed the waiver law.

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