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Supreme Court Rejects Request To Block Work On Obama Presidential Center

By News Creatives Authors , in Business , at August 20, 2021


Supreme Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett denied a motion Friday to halt construction of former President Barack Obama’s presidential center in Chicago that was filed by an advocacy group that believes it will damage a historic Chicago park, according to multiple news sites.

Key Facts

The emergency motion was filed by the group Protect Our Parks and local residents on Monday, which was when work was set to begin.

They asked the court to halt construction at Jackson Park because they believed the required environmental reviews weren’t done by federal, state and local governments.

The group argued that construction would “demolish significant parts of Jackson Park, its historical resources, parkland, and trees,” which would in turn negatively impact “the historic landscape, wildlife, and migratory birds.”

The group also called for an environmental impact statement to be drafted prior to construction.

Their bid to halt construction was also rejected by a federal judge and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit.

Crucial Quote

“We still believe that preserving the status quo is fundamental to preventing irreparable harm in Jackson Park,” co-counsel Michael Rachlis said in a statement. “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.”

Key Background

Jackson Park, on the South Side of Chicago, was chosen as the location for the Obama Presidential Center in 2018, and will house a public library, museum and playground, at an estimated cost of $500 million. The park, which was designed by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, who also planned New York’s Central Park, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Protect Our Parks has lobbied since 2018 to move the project two miles to Washington Park, which it argued would have a lesser impact. The group filed a lawsuit against the city of Chicago in 2020 to halt the project, which was shot down by Barrett, who was a U.S. circuit judge at that time. 

Further Reading

The Obama library is coming to Chicago. Will local residents be displaced? (The Guardian)

Obama Center Construction Kicks Off Monday; foundation to get Jackson park land on Friday (Chicago Sun Times)


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