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The Supreme Court grants Trump a major victory over its border wall



The Supreme Court ruled by a 5 to 4 vote in accordance with the guerrilla ruling on Friday evening that President Donald Trump may continue his plan to build a multi-billion dollar wall along the US/Mexico border.

The court order is the second time Trump v. Sierra Club It has arrived before the justices, and Friday’s ruling fully illustrates the court’s unusual respect for Trump and its dissatisfaction with the wall itself.

The case was first submitted to the court in late July 2019, after the lower federal court blocked the Trump administration’s attempt to transfer US$2.5 billion from Congress for military remuneration, training and similar personnel-related matters to the construction of the wall. The U.S. government claimed that under a regulation that allowed the Secretary of Defense to transfer military funds, the funds were transferred “in accordance with unforeseen military needs for higher priority projects.”

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However, as several lower court judges pointed out, there is no “unforeseen” situation that led to Trump’s construction of the wall. Trump has been campaigning to build a border wall since 2015. At the end of 2018 and early 2019, Trump even shut down most of the federal government because of differences in how much money should be allocated to pay for the wall.

Therefore, Congress did not deny the large amount of funding Trump sought because it did not foresee urgent problems that can only be resolved by the border wall. It understood Trump’s reasons for additional funding for his wall, and therefore rejected the case.

Nonetheless, the Supreme Court voted almost exclusively along the party line in its July 2019 order to prevent lower court orders from preventing the transfer of funds. The order was brief, but the court did conclude: “The government has fully demonstrated at this stage that the plaintiff has no grounds for litigation to request the acting secretary to review the compliance with Article 8005.” This means that the plaintiff may be No right to object to this particular transfer of funds.

In theory, this means that another party may be able to challenge Trump’s transfer decision, although it is not clear whether there is a potential party that can satisfy the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court often ignores its ordinary procedures that benefit Trump

Technically Sierra Club The lawsuit is still ongoing. The July 2019 order only stays in the lower court’s decision, which prohibits the transfer of military funds until afterwards Sierra Club Walked all the way throughout the appeal process. Friday’s order rejected Sierra Club The plaintiff cancelled the suspension imposed last year.

The discrepancy between last year’s order and last Friday’s order led to a partial objection by Judge Stephen Breyer in the 2019 case. As Breyer explained, parties seeking to suspend lower court opinions not only need to show that the Supreme Court agrees with the “fair prospects” of their arguments, they also need to show more. The party also needs to show that “refusal to stay may cause irreparable damage.”

As Breyer pointed out in 2019, “The government stated that if the contract cannot be finalized by September 30, the disputed funds will be returned to the Ministry of Finance.” Therefore, he believes that to prevent this The money is refunded and a reasonable stay may be reasonable. “Allowing the government to finalize the disputed contract, rather than start construction, will mitigate the most urgent damage the government claims, without risking irreparable damage to the plaintiff.”

One year later, however, such a short stay is no longer needed. As Breyer pointed out in his objection to Friday’s order, “The government has clearly finalized the contract and avoided the irreparable harm that it claimed when it first sought a suspension.” Breyer believes that because it is no longer possible Without the suspension, the government will face irreparable harm, so the suspension should be cancelled.

All discussions about the program status of the program Sierra Club Litigation and the Supreme Court’s rules for suspending orders from lower courts may seem esoteric, but court orders are Sierra Club Is part of a broader model. Whenever the Trump administration seeks to suspend appeals, the Roberts Court rarely enforces its own rules to suspend the opinions of lower courts.

Indeed, in February last year, Justice Sonia Sotomayor accused many of her colleagues of “greatly supporting the Trump administration” when it sought relief ordered by lower courts.

The data confirmed Sotomayor’s allegations. According to a paper published in November 2019 by Stephen Vladeck, a professor of law at the University of Texas, the Trump administration is most likely to seek a suspension from the Supreme Court, and the Roberts Court is most likely to grant them .

“In less than three years, [Trump’s] The Deputy Attorney General has filed at least 21 suspension applications to the Supreme Court (including 10 in the October 2018 term alone),” Fladeck wrote. In contrast, “in George W. Bush ( During the 16 years of George W. Bush and the Obama administration, the deputy attorney general submitted eight such applications-on average each other the term. “

In the past, the competent authorities usually avoided making such requests because the suspension of the Supreme Court was considered a special remedy-such cases were rarely approved and the parties should be extremely reluctant to make requests. However, the Trump administration has a high winning rate. In about two-thirds of the cases, it tried to temporarily block the opinion of the lower courts, thus winning all or part of it.

As Sotomayor wrote last fall, “Granting the suspension of pending appeals should be an “extraordinary” behavior. Unfortunately, the government seems to see this special mechanism as the new normal.” The court seems to be on this. The behavior is rewarded.

Friday Sierra Club In other words, the order is important, not just because it will move the construction of the wall forward. This is also important because it implies that the Supreme Court will relax the general rules of procedure for the current president.


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