Supreme Court Sends Border Wall Challenge Back to Lower Courts


The Supreme Court on Monday sent challenges to former President Donald Trump’s border wall back to lower courts for them to reconsider in light of new circumstances now that President Joe Biden has reversed Trump’s orders by executive orders.

The rulings froze funding for building the wall, but may not be needed with Biden’s orders. The remand, as it is called in legal parlance, sends the challenges from the Sierra Club, the American Civil Liberties Union and others back for reconsideration, The Hill noted.

The groups had won in court, with rulings that Trump had improperly designated $3.5 billion of military funding to build the wall.

The rulings were vacated “in light of the changed circumstances in this case.” The Biden administration had noted in a request to the court that the president had signed an order prohibiting further border wall construction on the day he was inaugurated.

But the border wall challengers also want Biden to reverse the impact of the wall, The Hill noted.

“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,” Dror Ladin, senior staff attorney at the ACLU’s National Security Project, told The Hill.

That includes removing the wall, something environmentalists say is disruptive to wildlife corridors, and damage to the protected Arizona saguaro cacti.

Relitigation, however, gives the federal government a chance to fight earlier court decisions that could limit executive power, especially the president’s ability to issue emergency declarations, The Hill noted.