The Biden team is having a hard time finding a win lately. On Monday, the Supreme Court handed the president’s administration another loss. Biden has been trying to block funding for the construction of the border wall between the United States and Mexico. But the High Court ruled that a district court in California should consider what further proceedings might be necessary and appropriate in light of the circumstances that have changed in the case.
This district court in California is where a federal judge had ruled against former President Trump’s use of Pentagon funds for the wall.
Newsweek reported that “The Supreme Court returned the case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ‘with instructions to direct the District Court to vacate its judgments,’ the Supreme Court wrote in its Monday order.”
A panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had let the previous ruling of the district court stand. That panel stated that they affirmed the district court’s judgment on holding budgetary transfers of funds for the construction of a wall on the southern border. They stated that they were not authorized under the Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2019.
The 9th Circuit made its decision based on the environmental claims of the states of California and New Mexico in its June 2020 affirmation of the lower court’s ruling. That ruling caused the panel to agree with the states of California and New Mexico in their understanding that the actions of the federal defendants will cause particularized and concrete injuries in fact to the environment and wildlife of their respective states. They held as well that the states had sovereign interests in enforcing their environmental laws.
The panel decided that California and New Mexico each provided sufficient evidence, if taken as true, that would allow a reasonable fact finder to conclude that both states would suffer injuries in fact to their environmental interests. They had the right to protect endangered species within their borders. And the panel also decided that California and New Mexico demonstrated that border wall construction injured their quasi-sovereign interests by preventing them from enforcing their environmental laws.
President Biden’s administration took the position that the Supreme Court did not need to weigh in on the border wall funding case because the project was closed down by the new administration, according to Newsweek Magazine.
President Biden issued an executive proclamation on the day he was inaugurated that stated: “… building a massive wall that spans the entire southern border is not a serious policy solution. It is a waste of money that diverts attention from genuine threats to our homeland security. …It shall be the policy of my Administration that no more American taxpayer dollars be diverted to construct a border wall. I am also directing a careful review of all resources appropriated or redirected to construct a southern border wall.”
Biden also noted that the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, would direct the appropriate officials within their respective departments to pause work on each construction project on the southern border wall, to the extent permitted by law, as soon as possible. He also said that the obligation of funds related to the construction of the southern border wall would be paused to the extent permitted by law.
And in April, the U.S. Department of Defense said it was canceling border wall construction projects that were intended to proceed with funds that were originally intended for military missions and projects, according to Newsweek.
The Supreme Court did weigh-in, and Biden suffered another defeat.