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Obama's Giant Presidential Library Just Hit a Serious Roadblock

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A Chicago-based environmental advocacy group requested the Supreme Court block the construction of former President Barack Obama’s presidential library in the city’s South Side neighborhood.

The advocacy group Protect Our Parks and several other parties filed an emergency request Monday, the day construction began, asking the court to issue an emergency order to bring the construction in Jackson Park to a standstill, The Hill reported.

The plaintiffs alleged the federal, state, and local governments unlawfully broke the project into sections to circumvent a comprehensive assessment of the construction work’s environmental impact on the land.

The project’s completion would require those involved in its construction “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 plaintiffs said.

Furthermore, they alleged authorities overlooked any possible alternatives to the construction site, and requested the project undergo an intensive review of its environmental impact, known as an Environmental Impact Statement.

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According to The Hill, this request comes after previous legal action by the group to force authorities to change the location of the building site failed.

The outlet reported that in 2018, the advocacy group filed a lawsuit against Chicago authorities, arguing the Obama Presidential Center would benefit private interests instead of public interests.

However, the judge rejected their request.

The case then landed in a Chicago federal appeals court, where then-Judge Amy Coney Barrett, writing on behalf of a panel of three judges, rejected the push by Protect Our Parks.

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In April, according to The Hill, the Supreme Court refused to look at the case.

Referring to the recent legal effort by the advocacy group, a spokesperson for the Obama Foundation said, ​​“We await word from the Court as to next steps.”

“On Monday, August 16 the Obama Foundation officially began construction of the Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park,” he added, “and we are excited to bring this historic project to the city of Chicago.”

Protect Our Parks believes the library should be constructed in Washington Park rather than Jackson Park.

“The current plans call for seizing acres of mature parkland in one of America’s most precious public landscapes, Frederick Law Olmsted’s Jackson Park,” the organization said in a proposal on its website.

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“This shocking development is clearly a continuation of an engrained Urban Renewal mentality, where public and private property are taken without sufficient care for existing residents, and bulldozed unceremoniously without concern for historic context,” Protect Our Parks added.

“This, and the disinterested, destructive, disaffecting processes by which it is engendered, have a proven track record of failure as they relate to both community stabilization and institutional longevity.”

“The Barack Obama Presidential Library is the 14th Presidential library administered by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), a federal agency,” the library’s website states.

“Unlike other Presidential Libraries administered by NARA, the Barack Obama Presidential Library will be the first fully digital presidential library. An estimated 95 percent of the Presidential records of the Obama administration were born-digital, such as photos, videos, word processing documents, tweets, emails, and other common digital formats. NARA and the Obama Foundation will work together to digitize the unclassified textual Presidential records to create a digital archive.”

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Andrew Jose is a freelance reporter covering security, U.S. politics, and foreign policy, among other beats. He has bylines in several outlets, notably the Daily Caller, Jewish News Syndicate, and the Times of Israel.
Andrew Jose is a freelance reporter covering security, U.S. politics, and foreign policy, among other beats. He has bylines in several outlets, notably the Daily Caller, Jewish News Syndicate, and the Times of Israel. Speak to Andrew securely via Follow Andrew on Twitter: @realAndrewJose
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