Court Battles

Federal judge dismisses lawsuit by butterfly conservationists over Trump border wall

A federal judge on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit from the North American Butterfly Association (NABA) that sought to block the Trump administration’s plans to construct a border wall near the National Butterfly Center in southern Texas. 

U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon ruled against NABA, writing that the organization’s claims that the government violated its Fourth Amendment rights by entering the sanctuary without consent does not apply in this case, because the amendment “offers little refuge for unenclosed land near one of the country’s external borders.”

The judge added that there “no factual allegations suggest that defendant entered or searched without consent any physical structures on the Center’s property.”

{mosads}Leon additionally rejected NABA’s claims that the government violated its 5th Amendment due process rights. 

The ruling came more than a year after after NABA had first filed suit against the government over plans for a border wall.


NPR reported that plans for the wall would cut the 100-acre Butterfly Center in half, and leave up to 70 percent of the land inaccessible between the wall and the Rio Grande River.

The sanctuary earlier this week filed for a restraining order, asking the judge to block the government from building a wall  that would run through the sanctuary. The National Butterfly Center’s director, Marianna Trevino Wright, alleged that without an injunction, law enforcement officers doing work on the sanctuary’s property would cause “irreparable harm.”

The president has pledged since launching his presidential campaign to construct a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The White House said Thursday that Trump will declare a national emergency to secure funds to construct the wall after a bill brokered by lawmakers only included $1.375 billion in funding for roughly 55 miles of new barriers along the southern border.

The move is likely to draw swift legal challenges, and a number of Republican lawmakers have expressed concerns that an emergency declaration will set a dangerous precedent for future administrations.


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