In yet another baffling and unexplained order, the conservative wing of the Supreme Court has granted another stay barring the Biden administration from winding down Title 42 policies forcing the deportation of asylum seekers on supposed public health grounds. A temporary stay was issued by Chief Justice John Roberts last week; the new order by the full court extends the stay until at least next February, when the court will hear arguments on whether 19 Republican state attorney generals have standing to dispute the policy to begin with.
An appeals court already denied that request because the Republican officials waited too long to file it in the first place; Roberts, and four other members of the full court, now want to debate whether the 19 officials have standing and have issued an emergency stay blocking the administration from lifting anti-asylum restrictions until they've decided.
Voting against the conservative majority are Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, Ketanji Brown Jackson, and Neil Gorsuch. Even staunch conservative Gorsuch is baffled by this one, writing in his dissent that the question of standing is "not of special importance in its own right and would not normally warrant expedited review." Gorsuch instead notes that no matter what the outcome of this specific dispute, "the emergency on which" Title 42 orders "were premised has long since lapsed." That emergency? The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent public health crisis.
The Republican states "do not seriously dispute that the public-health justification undergirding the Title 42 orders has lapsed," writes Gorsuch. "And it is hardly obvious why we should rush in to review a ruling on a motion to intervene in a case concerning emergency decrees that have outlived their shelf life."
Indeed, seemingly all parties here have agreed that the suits aiming to force Title 42 "public health" deportations of asylum-seekers are motivated by a desire to reject asylum seekers, not pandemic public health concerns. What the Supreme Court will be deciding in its February session is whether blocking asylum-seekers from entering our country is of such urgent policy importance that they, and not the executive branch, get to decide when to impose such policies and for how long.
Chief justice temporarily blocks Title 42 end, indicates further action from court could come soon
Biden admin says in filing GOP makes clear it seeks to use public health order as immigration policy
D.C. Court of Appeals panel rejects GOP effort trying to keep anti-asylum policy in place
What better way to wrap up the year than by previewing the biggest contests of 2023 on this week's episode of The Downballot? Progressives will want to focus on a Jan. 10 special election for the Virginia state Senate that would allow them to expand their skinny majority; the April 4 battle for the Wisconsin Supreme Court that could let progressives take control from conservatives; Chicago's mayoral race; gubernatorial contests in Kentucky and Louisiana; and much, much more.
Of course, we might've thought we were done with 2022 after Georgia, but Kyrsten Sinema decided to make herself the center of attention again. However, co-hosts David Nir and David Beard explain why there's much less than meets the eye to her decision to become an independent: She can't take away the Democratic majority in the Senate, and her chances at winning re-election are really poor. In fact, there's good reason to believe she'd hurt Republicans more in a three-way race. The Davids also discuss the upcoming special election for Virginia's dark blue 4th Congressional District, where the key battle for the Democratic nomination will take place in less than a week.