Washington, DC (CBSLA) — The U.S. Supreme Court has cleared the way for the Trump administration to tap billions of dollars in Pentagon funds to strenghten parts of a border wall with Mexico.

President Trump hailed the decision, calling it a “big victory.”

A  trial court initially froze the funds in May and an appeals court kept that freeze in place earlier this month.

The Supreme Court’s action means the Trump administration can start work on four contracts it has already awarded to replace existing sections of the border wall with stronger fencing in California, Arizona and New Mexico.

A lower court battle will continue to play out over whether the government had the authority to divert the Department of Defense funds, which total $2.5 billion.

U.S. President Donald Trump inspects border wall prototypes in San Diego, Calif., on March 13, 2018. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

President Trump had declared a national emergency to get money from other areas within the government. The move came after a 35-day government shutdown ended with Congress awarding far less money than the president asked for.

“This ruling means today that President Trump, at least temporarily, has a big victory,” says Loyola Law School professor Jessica Levinson.

The Supreme Court vote was close, 5-4 to lift the order of the lower court.

The fact the ruling was close is just another reason opponents of the wall have renewed optimism.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) which sued the White House says, “This is not over. We are asking the federal appeals court to expedite the ongoing appeals proceedings to halt the irreversible and imminent damage from Trump’s border wall.”


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