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Oct. 19, 2020, 11:09 a.m. EDT

Supreme Court to rule on Trump’s use of military money for Mexico border wall

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Chris Matthews

The Supreme Court announced Monday that it will hear an appeal by the Trump administration after lower courts blocked an attempt to divert Department of Defense funds to fund construction of a southern border wall.

Though lower courts have ruled against the administration’s move to spend $2.5 billion in funds allocated by Congress to the Pentagon on wall construction, the Supreme Court had previously decided in a 5-4 vote to stay those orders, allowing the administration to proceed without ever formally ruling on the constitutionality of the maneuver.

The Trump administration has argued that the diversion of Defense Department funds to construct the border wall is necessary to help combat the illegal drug trade and is allowable under defense appropriation laws.

Environmental groups, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the states of California and Mexico sued to block the move arguing that Congress had specifically declined to fund the wall and that using funds previously allocated for military-personnel uses was unconstitutional.

While much of the money has been spent, a Supreme Court ruling against the administration could lead to its having to deconstruct what is has built. “The administration has admitted that the wall can be taken down if we ultimately prevail,” said Dror Ladin, staff attorney with the ACLU’s National Security Project, said in a statement . “We will hold them to their word and seek the removal of every mile of unlawful wall built.”

In other Supreme Court news: Trump’s ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy to get Supreme Court review

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