SCOTUS remands decision to freeze border wall funds back to lower courts

Former President Donald Trump had liberals and activist groups up in arms when he announced that a set amount of U.S. military funding would be appropriated specifically for the construction of a barrier — or border wall — at the southern U.S border to help mitigate the influx of illegal immigrants.

Even though the aforementioned opponents of the move scored several victories in lower federal courts, the U.S. Supreme Court last week dealt them a new setback. According to The Hill, the high court ruled that the lower courts are to reconsider previous rulings that froze the border wall construction funds. 

Trump, at the time, issued an emergency authorization that diverted funds — roughly $3.6 billion — from dozens of military projects to instead be used to construct sections of border wall.

Upon entering office, President Joe Biden signed an executive order prohibiting the continued construction of a wall, which is one of the reasons SCOTUS vacated the previous rulings from lower courts, “in light of the changed circumstances in this case.”

“The remand punts challenges to the border wall from the Sierra Club, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and others who previously scored court victories determining that Trump inappropriately designated military funding for construction of the wall,” The Hill noted.

However, additional legal battle are now expected given the high court’s latest ruling, as Dror Ladin, senior staff attorney at the ACLU’s National Security Project, noted in a statement following the ruling.

“Today’s order comes after the government conceded that the Trump wall was wasteful and destructive, and returns the case to the district court so that Sierra Club and the Southern Border Communities Coalition can seek relief for the damage the wall has already inflicted,” Ladin wrote.

While it’s unclear at this point what will happen with regard to the case, the New York Post reported earlier this week that the Biden administration has been paying contractors millions of dollars per day to uphold border wall construction contracts until they can be legally canceled.

In addition, the Post added that some $100 million worth of taxpayer-funded steel barriers currently sit unused in Pharr, Texas, and will likely continue to sit and rust away in the sun, possibly until a new administration takes over the White House.