If these three decisions are among the reasons why SCOTUS didn't have time to take up the pending 2A suits, I would say they did the right thing.
US Supreme Court spurns environmental challenge to Trump's border wall
By Jan Wolfe
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The US Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear a challenge by four environmental groups to the authority of President Donald Trump's administration to build his promised wall along the border with Mexico.
The justices turned away an appeal by the groups of a federal judge's ruling that rejected their claims that the administration had unlawfully undertaken border wall projects in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas harmful to plant and animal life. The groups had argued that the 1996 law under which the administration is building the wall gave too much power to the executive branch in violation of the US Constitution.
The groups that sued are the Center for Biological Diversity, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Defenders of Wildlife and the Southwest Environmental Center. They said the wall construction efforts would harm plants, wildlife habitats and endangered species including the jaguar, Mexican gray wolf and bighorn sheep.
The border wall is one of Trump's signature 2016 campaign promises, part of his hardline policies toward illegal and legal immigration. The Republican president has vowed to build a wall along the entire 2,000-mile (3,200-km) US-Mexico border. He promised that Mexico would pay for it. Mexico has refused.
The 1996 law, aimed at combating illegal immigration, gave the US government authority to build border barriers and preempt legal requirements such as environmental rules. It also limited the kinds of legal challenges that could be brought.
The environmental groups argued that the law was unconstitutional because it gave too much power to the executive branch - in this case the Department of Homeland Security - to get around laws like the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act without congressional input.
Progress toward building the wall has been limited because Congress has not provided the funds Trump has sought, leading him to divert money - with the blessing of the Supreme Court - from the US military and other parts of the federal government.
Trump on June 23 visited a newly built section of the wall along the frontier with Mexico in San Luis, Arizona, autographing a plaque commemorating the 200th mile (320 km) of the project.
US Supreme Court clears way for resumption of federal executions
By Lawrence Hurley
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The US Supreme Court on Monday paved the way for President Donald Trump's administration to carry out the first federal executions since 2003, turning away an appeal by four inmates challenging the lethal injection protocols due to be used.
The justices left in place a lower court ruling that had let the executions proceed. The condemned men, convicted in federal courts of murder, had appealed after the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on April 7 threw out a judge's injunction that had blocked the executions.
The inmates - Daniel Lee, Wesley Purkey, Alfred Bourgeois and Dustin Honken - are scheduled for execution in July and August at a federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana.
The brief court order noted that two of the four liberal justices, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor, favored hearing the appeal.
Lee, a white supremacist, is due to be the first executed, on July 13. He was convicted in Arkansas in the suffocation deaths carried out with an accomplice of a gun dealer, the man's wife and her 8-year-old daughter in 1996.
While some individual states have continued to carry out executions of inmates convicted in their courts, the US government has not conducted an execution since 2003 during the administration of President George W. Bush amid protracted litigation over the practice.
But Attorney General William Barr last year announced that Trump's administration would resume executions, citing the need to uphold "the rule of law" and saying that "we owe it to the victims and their families to carry forward the sentence imposed by our justice system."
At issue in the legal battle is whether a US law called the Federal Death Penalty Act requires the federal government to follow all execution protocols in the state where the sentence was imposed as opposed to where the execution will take place.
The law requires that the execution be implemented "in the manner prescribed by the law of the state in which the sentence is imposed," which the federal government has interpreted loosely as the general method of execution, which in all four cases would be lethal injection.
But lawyers for the inmates have argued that under this law the government must follow the detailed execution protocols in the states where the inmates were convicted.
Lee was convicted in Arkansas, Purkey in Missouri, Bourgeois in Texas and Honken in Iowa. Iowa is among the states that does not have the death penalty, but Honken was sentenced to death, as federal law allows, subject to Indiana's method of execution.
US Supreme Court upholds curb on overseas AIDS funding
By Lawrence Hurley
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The US Supreme Court on Monday ruled that a 2003 law does not violate constitutional free speech rights by requiring overseas affiliates of American-based nonprofit groups that seek federal funding for HIV/AIDS relief to take a formal stance opposing prostitution and sex trafficking.
The 5-3 ruling, authored by conservative Justice Brett Kavanaugh, represented a victory for President Donald Trump's administration in its appeal of a lower court ruling in favor of the relief groups. The court's five conservatives were in the majority. Three liberal justices dissented and one liberal justice, Elena Kagan, did not participate.
Organizations including the Alliance for Open Society International, Pathfinder International, InterAction and the Global Health Council challenged the provision as a violation of the US Constitution's First Amendment.
The groups said the restrictions, part of a law enacted under Republican former President George W. Bush, interferes with the ability to provide advice and counseling to sex workers about the risks of HIV infection.
The groups argued that to an ordinary person these organizations and their overseas affiliates that help carry out their work and are known by similar names are indistinguishable.
The plaintiffs obtained an injunction in 2006 preventing the policy from being enforced against them. The Supreme Court ruled in 2013 that the law violated the free speech rights of the US-based groups but did not decide at that time whether applying it to their overseas partners also was unconstitutional.