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Supreme Court rejects environmental groups’ challenge to border wall law

December 3, 2018

The Supreme Court rejected a case Monday brought by environmental groups challenging a law that gives the secretary of Homeland Security power over decisions related to the building of the president’s border wall.

The groups petitioned the high court in August after losing their battle in lower court, arguing a 1996 law providing the secretary of Homeland Security with “the authority to waive all legal requirements” she “determines necessary to ensure expeditious construction of the barriers” violated the separation of powers.

“By any measure, the unfettered power this statute confers on the Secretary is staggering,” the groups argued in court papers.

They said the secretary of Homeland Security lacks expertise in enforcing environmental laws, worker safety laws, historic preservations laws and federal contracts.

The government, though, said Congress authorized the law in question under the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act with the goal aimed at improving national security at the borders.

The justices, without comment, declined to hear the case.

It takes four justices to agree to grant an appeal.

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