Justice Barrett rejects effort to halt Obama library construction

Advocacy group says the project would harm the local environment

Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett denied a petition to stop the construction of an Obama Foundation library in Chicago

"We greatly appreciate the continued support of our project and process by the courts, including now from the highest court in the land," an Obama Foundation spokesperson told Fox News on Friday. "With their support, and the outpouring of support we’ve received from so many on the South Side and across the city of Chicago, we were so pleased to be able to kick off our construction this past week and get us one day closer to doors opening at the Obama Presidential Center." 

The advocacy group Protect Our Parks and other plaintiffs had tried to halt the construction of the Obama presidential library in Chicago's Jackson Park this week, citing it would be harmful to the local environment.

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"Today's Supreme Court decision is disappointing, but not surprising. We still believe that preserving the status quo is fundamental to preventing irreparable harm in Jackson Park," the petitioners' co-counsel Michael Rachlis said in a statement, the Hill reported Friday. 

"Nonetheless, our core arguments seek to protect the long-term environmental and historical resources in Jackson Park, and we look forward to presenting our evidence and these arguments in the appellate and district court in the coming weeks." 

Barrett is the Supreme Court judge tasked with handling emergency matters from Illinois, and could have acted on the petition or referred it to other justices. The court’s website on Friday indicates she rejected the bid

The advocacy group also claimed that the construction evaded a federally required review process on its environmental impacts, and said the project should instead be built in Washington Park, which is a few miles away.

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"In constructing the OPC, Respondents will need to demolish significant parts of Jackson Park, its historical resources, parkland, and trees, which will, in turn, adversely affect the human environment, the historic landscape, wildlife, and migratory birds," the group said in an emergency request for a temporary injunction filed with the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

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Excavation on the Obama Presidential Center began Monday, and is slated to cut down trees on Sept. 1 to continue construction. The center will reportedly feature a museum, library, gardens and a playground.