Work on Barack Obama's presidential library finally began this week—but the project's opponents want the Supreme Court to order an immediate halt. The Protect Our Parks group has filed an emergency request with Justice Amy Coney Barrett, arguing that the project will do irreparable harm to Jackson Park, which is on the National Register of Historic Places and located on Chicago's South Side, CBS reports. The group says construction of the Obama Presidential Center will "adversely affect the human environment, the historic landscape, wildlife, and migratory birds." The nonprofit organization says the feds failed to conduct the necessary environmental reviews, reports NBC.
The group argues that the project dodged federal reviews by breaking it down into smaller projects that did not require extensive environmental reviews. Barrett—the Supreme Court justice assigned to Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin—could rule on the motion herself or refer it to the full court, Fox reports. The group's request to halt construction has already been turned down by a federal judge and the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals. A bulldozer started excavating part of the 19-acre site Monday, and the Obama Foundation says a formal groundbreaking ceremony will take place in the fall, the AP reports. Protect Our Parks says it wants to have work halted before the cutting down of what it estimates will be 800 trees begins on Sept. 1. (Read more Barack Obama stories.)