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President Trump and the border wall in June. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court in a 5-4 vote on Friday rejected a request from environmental groups to prevent construction of portions of the U.S.-Mexico border wall.

Why it matters: The ruling lets the administration continue building despite pending appeals to a case on whether the administration can use Defense Department funding for border wall construction.

  • "Friday’s order means the court is not likely even to consider the substance of the issue until after the November election, while work on the wall continues," the AP writes, noting the court will begin hearing cases again in October.

Context: A federal appeals court ruled last month that the administration's use of defense funding for the project was an illegal breach of executive authority. The Trump administration said it would ask the Supreme Court to hear arguments in the case in August, per AP.

  • The Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 vote last July that the Pentagon could redirect $2.5 billion to build President Trump's long-promised southern border wall.

What they're saying: Justice Stephen Breyer, joined by justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, dissented.

  • "The Court's decision to let construction continue nevertheless, I fear, may operate in effect, as a final judgment," Breyer wrote.
  • "As the government previously explained, halting the construction process during litigation imposes significant costs on DoD, which can be required to reimburse its contractors for the additional expenses that such a delay causes them to incur," government lawyers argued, according to CNN.

The bottom line: Friday's decision is a win for Trump, who has made the wall a cornerstone of his presidency and reelection bid.

  • It is a loss for the environmental organizations, represented by the ACLU and Sierra Club, which believe the wall will harm natural habitats along the border.

Go deeper

Trump's last stand against the truth

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump is pinning his hopes — and presidency — on a wild, relentless war against reality and truth, falsely claiming several states are stealing the election by adhering to their laws, rules, and long precedents. 

Why it matters: Trump fears the election will be called today, perhaps first by Fox News, and that his effort to get the Supreme Court to intervene will fail, officials tell Axios. 

Updated Nov 7, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Pennsylvania Republicans ask Supreme Court to reiterate ballot rules

Election officials count votes at the Allegheny County elections warehouse in Pittsburgh Friday. Photo: Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

Pennsylvania Republicans asked the Supreme Court on Friday to reiterate the rules for counting mail-in votes in the state, while acknowledging that they have no evidence to suggest those rules aren't being followed. The court granted the request late Friday.

The big picture: The Trump campaign has been clear that it wants to get the election before the Supreme Court somehow or another, but this new effort, as the results in Pennsylvania become clearer, is still highly unlikely to make much of a difference.

Trump's stalling legal strategy

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Trump campaign legal team is throwing everything at the wall in battleground states — a last-ditch effort to use the courts to freeze time in states where President Trump was ahead (but keep counting in key places where he appeared behind).

Why it matters: None of the legal actions was poised to change the outcome, but the effort could delegitimize the 2020 election in the eyes of millions of Trump supporters even if the final math based on legitimate counts show Joe Biden the winner.