Chicago Group Appeals to Supreme Court in Last-Ditch Effort to Halt Obama Library Construction


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Former President Barack Obama points out features of the proposed Obama Presidential Center during a gathering at the South Shore Cultural Center on May 3, 2017, in Chicago.

Former President Barack Obama points out features of the proposed Obama Presidential Center during a gathering at the South Shore Cultural Center on May 3, 2017, in Chicago. (Scott Olson / Getty Images)

 By Sebastian Hughes  August 18, 2021 at 2:41pm

A Chicago-based environmental group filed an emergency request on Monday to stop the construction of President Barack Obama’s presidential library.

Protect Our Parks and others asked the Supreme Court to halt construction in the city’s Jackson Park, arguing that the library was unlawfully split into multiple projects to avoid a full assessment of its environmental impacts.

If construction proceeds, plaintiffs argue, it will “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 federal reviews were fundamentally flawed; specifically, the reviews artificially segmented the [Obama Presidential Center] project into two pieces,” Protect Our Parks said in a statement to the Daily Caller News Foundation.

“The plaintiffs will argue that this artificial segmentation is integral to what violates the federal statute.”

The group proposes that Washington Park, a few miles away from Jackson Park, is a suitable alternative location.

Failed attempts to halt the project in the lower courts led to the appeal to the Supreme Court.

Protect Our Parks sued the city of Chicago in 2018 on the grounds that the OPC would benefit private, rather than public, interest, as required by law, The Hill reported.

Should the Supreme Court halt construction on the Obama Presidential Center?

A district court judge dismissed the effort, and the group’s appeal also failed, according to The Hill.

The Supreme Court declined to review the earlier case in April.

The Monday request was written directly to Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who may now either take the petition up herself or refer it to another justice.

“We await word from the Court as to next steps,” an Obama Foundation spokesperson told the DCNF.

The spokesperson also noted that construction on the presidential library began on Monday and that the group is “excited to bring this historic project to the city of Chicago.”

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