The Supreme Court agreed Monday to render a verdict on the legality of President Donald Trump’s use of military funds to pay for an expanded border wall as well as his “remain in Mexico” policy preventing migrants seeking asylum from entering this country before their claims are heard.
The justices said they would hear the administration’s appeal in both cases and set arguments for early next year, likely releasing a decision in June.
The pair of cases could prove highly significant if Trump is reelected next month. But they may well be dismissed if an incoming Biden administration revokes the disputed Trump policies.
Trump’s policies on immigration have been declared illegal by federal judges in California. They said the president did not have the authority acting on his own to defy Congress and transfer $2.5 billion in Pentagon funds to pay for building more border walls. And they ruled that the asylum laws did not authorize border agents to turn away migrants who asked for protection.
But in both instances, Trump’s lawyers won orders from the Supreme Court that allowed his policies to go into effect while the legal disputes proceeded in lower courts.
Now that the administration has lost on both issues in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, the justices said they would hear the appeals in Trump v. Sierra Club regarding the border wall and Wolf v. Innovation Law Lab on the “remain in Mexico” policy.
The oral arguments would likely be scheduled for late in February.
Judy Rabinowitz, an American Civil Liberties Union attorney, said the Supreme Court should rule that the administration has been violating the asylum laws.
“Asylum seekers face grave danger every day this illegal and depraved policy is in effect. The courts have repeatedly ruled against it, and the Supreme Court should as well,” she said in a statement.
The Sierra Club had sued to halt the expansion of the border.
“The Trump administration has misused military funds for the construction of a wall that has caused lasting harm to the ecosystems and communities of the borderlands, damaged sacred Indigenous lands beyond repair, and destroyed wildlife and habitats along the border,” said Gloria Smith, a managing attorney at the Sierra Club. “Stopping this wasteful and irreversible damage is long overdue, and we look forward to making our case before the Supreme Court.”
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