The ruling will allow President Donald Trump's administration to continue work on border wall projects in New Mexico, Arizona and California. The Supreme Court stay will remain in place while the Ninth Circuit reviews the administration's appeal of the latter court's June decision that using military funds to build the border wall did not meet the requirements of a national emergency declaration and that such a diversion of money was an attempt to sidestep Congress, which has been unwilling to give Trump the billions he wants for construction.
The high court's opinion, in part, was based on its determination that the Sierra Club, which filed the original lawsuit, does not likely have standing to force a review of former Acting Defense Department Secretary Patrick Shanahan's decision to authorize the transfer of money from military programs for use on border wall construction.
The president used his Twitter account to express his support for the Supreme Court's decision: "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!"
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat from California and opponent of the president's aggressive border wall plan, issued a statement after the ruling maintaining that the court's decision "undermines the Constitution and the law."
The $2.5 billion will be taken from DOD counternarcotics funds, but the total amount Trump requested from military coffers when he declared a national emergency in February was more than $6.7 billion. In addition to the $2.5 billion, $3.6 billion is slated to come from military programs pending final approval from the DOD. The president has also tapped $601 million from the Treasury Forfeiture Fund. When combined with the $1.4 billion, that puts up to $8 billion at the president's disposal.
In a review of border wall construction thus far, the Washington Examiner reported that of the approximately 50 miles that the Trump administration has built this far, none has been new construction. Contractors have replaced or supplemented existing barriers only. Although, according to the Examiner, administration officials said that new construction would begin after Customs and Border Protection and the Army Corps of Engineers secured the necessary permits and approvals, the Department of Homeland Security waives most of the regulations to which most construction projects have to comply.