Justice Barrett refuses to block construction of Obama Presidential Center

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Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett denied a bid to block the construction of the proposed Obama Presidential Center in Chicago's Jackson Park on Friday, acting alone and without releasing an explanation of her decision.

The suit requested that a writ of injunction be issued to prevent any further groundbreaking for the center, as well as stopping tree cutting in Jackson Park for the Obama Center. One applicant for the writ of injunction was Protect Our Parks, a campaign dedicated to “keeping public park land open to the public.” In a video message on its website, the organization notes that “Protect Our Parks welcomes the construction of the Obama Presidential Center on Chicago’s South Side outside of a dedicated public park!”

Among other reasons, the applicants said groundbreaking should halt because trees in Jackson Park are critical to migratory birds, and because of short-term effects like noise and air pollution. Barrett's decision means the Supreme Court will allow the construction of the presidential center to continue.

The Obama Presidential Center announced plans to break ground earlier this year, following four years of review.

“The project serves as a catalyst for long-overdue investment in and around historic Jackson Park — creating a new destination to move visitors from hope to action, breathing new life into the park, and delivering amenities and economic benefits to the community the Obamas called home,” the Obama Foundation said in a February news release.

This is not the first time Justice Barrett has acted alone in a significant decision without referring to the full court. Just last week, she opted not to block an Indiana University vaccine mandate, also without releasing an explanation.

Josh Gerstein contributed to this report.

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