President Donald Trump scored a major victory at the Supreme Court on Friday, as the justices lifted a lower court order blocking a key part of his plan to expand the border wall with Mexico.
The Justice Department had asked the justices to stay a pair of rulings an Oakland-based federal judge issued in May and June blocking Trump’s plan to use about $2.5 billion in military construction funds for wall projects in California, Arizona and New Mexico.
All the Republican-appointed justices voted in favor of allowing Trump to proceed with that aspect of his plan while litigation over the issue continues. All the Democratic-appointed justices dissented, except for Justice Stephen Breyer who said he would have allowed the contracting process to move forward but blocked actual construction.
Trump announced in May that he intended to spend over $8 billion on border wall construction, despite the fact that Congress appropriated only $1.375 billion for that purposes and limited its use to southeast Texas. He also declared a state of emergency in an effort to unlock a portion of the funds.
The roughly $2.5 billion at issue in the litigation was identified by the administration as available because of a provision allowing excess military construction money to be spent on counterdrug projects.