The Trump administration is asking the Supreme Court to intervene and lift an injunction imposed by a lower federal court that blocks the administration from using $2.5 billion in military funds to construct the wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.
The filing has gone to Justice Elena Kagan, who will likely ask environmental groups who brought the original lawsuit to respond with a brief of its own in coming days.
Kagan will also likely ask all her colleagues to weigh in, but it’s unclear when an order will be issued.
Earlier this month, a divided three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco agreed with a lower court ruling that prevented the government from tapping Defense Department counterdrug money to build high-priority sections of wall in Arizona, California and New Mexico.
At stake is billions of dollars that would allow Trump to make progress on a major 2016 campaign promise heading into his race for a second term.
Trump declared a national emergency after losing a fight with the Democratic-led House that led to the 35-day shutdown. Congress agreed to spend nearly $1.4 billion on barriers in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, the busiest corridor for illegal crossings, which was well below the $5.7 billion the president requested.
Trump grudgingly accepted the money but declared the emergency to siphon cash from other government accounts, finding up to $8.1 billion for wall construction. The money includes $3.6 billion from military construction funds, $2.5 billion from Defense Department counterdrug activities and $600 million from the Treasury Department’s asset forfeiture fund.
Acting Defense Secretary Mark Esper has yet to approve transferring the military construction funds.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.