In Blistering Dissent Sotomayor Slams White House For Seeking Emergency Powers On Controversial Issues

February 24, 2020 by Dan McCue
In this Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020 photo, Singer Gloria Estefan moderates a presentation with Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor in Miami. Sotomayor spoke to a crowd about her new book "Just Ask". The new illustrated book teaches children and parents how to be better citizens by explaining that acts of civic participation turn people into heroes. (AP Photo/Adriana Gomez Licon)

In a blistering dissent issued late Friday night, Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor chastised the Trump administration for repeatedly asking the  high court to allow controversial policies to go into effect on an emergency basis.

At the same time, and in a rare instance for the generally collegiate court, Sotomayor scolded her conservative colleagues on the bench, charging they’ve been all too eager to side with the White House on such requests.

The justice’s dissent came after the Supreme Court split 5-4 to allow an immigrant “wealth” test to go into effect. The test is intended to weed out green card applicants who are likely to need public assistance like food stamps, Medicaid or a housing allowance in the future.

The ruling Friday was to allow the policy to go into effect in Illinois, where a stay of the policy had been in place. The court had already lifted a separate nationwide stay of the policy on Jan. 27.

In her dissent Sotomayor, who joined Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan in the minority, argued that cases have repeatedly been rushed to the Supreme Court without being “ventilated fully in the lower courts.”

“Claiming one emergency after another, the Government has recently sought stays in an unprecedented number of cases,” Sotomayor said. “It is hard to say what is more troubling,” she said, pointing to the case at hand, “that the Government would seek this extraordinary relief seemingly as a matter of course, or that the Court would grant it.”

“And with each successive application, of course, its cries of urgency ring increasingly hollow,” she added.

Sotomayor went on to say that by seeking to have policies go into effect on an emergency basis, the administration was effectively “putting a thumb on the scale in favor” of the party that won a stay.

“Most troublingly,” she said, “the Court’s recent behavior” has benefited “one litigant over all others.”

She concluded by saying, “I fear that this disparity in treatment erodes the fair and balanced decision-making process that this court must strive to protect.”

Now the public charge rule, scheduled for implementation Monday — will take effect nationwide while the legal process plays out.

“This final rule will protect hard working American taxpayers, safeguard welfare programs for truly needy Americans, reduce the Federal deficit, and re-establish the fundamental legal principle that newcomers to our society should be financially self-reliant and not dependent on the largess(e) of United States taxpayers,” the White House said in a statement Saturday.

Sotomayor comments lit up the Twittersphere over the weekend and renewed calls from Democrats to “flip the Senate” in November, and thus have more control over the confirmation of Supreme Court justices.

Supreme Court

Supreme Court Upholds Cellphone Robocall Ban
Supreme Court
Supreme Court Upholds Cellphone Robocall Ban
July 6, 2020
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON— The Supreme Court on Monday upheld a 1991 law that bars robocalls to cellphones. The case, argued by telephone in May because of the coronavirus pandemic, stems from a 2015 decision by Congress to carve out an exception to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. The... Read More

Supreme Court Rules States Can Penalize Faithless Electors
Supreme Court
Supreme Court Rules States Can Penalize Faithless Electors
July 6, 2020
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that so-called faithless electors can be penalized if they renege on their pledge to vote for their state voters' choice for president. Writing for a nearly unanimous court, Justice Elena Kagan began with a summation of the electoral... Read More

Trump’s Taxes, Birth Control Top Supreme Court’s Closing Agenda
Supreme Court
Trump’s Taxes, Birth Control Top Supreme Court’s Closing Agenda

The U.S. Supreme Court is poised to cap a term like no other with potentially blockbuster decisions covering birth control, religious rights and President Donald Trump’s efforts to keep his financial records private. The justices will tackle their eight remaining cases starting Monday, when they issue... Read More

Supreme Court Blocks Curbside Voting in Alabama
2020 Elections
Supreme Court Blocks Curbside Voting in Alabama

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision Thursday blocked a lower court ruling allowing curbside voting in Alabama and waiving some absentee ballot requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic. Conservative justices granted Alabama’s request to stay a federal judge’s order that would... Read More

Supreme Court to Hear Case on Release of Full Mueller Report
Supreme Court
Supreme Court to Hear Case on Release of Full Mueller Report
July 2, 2020
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court announced on Thursday that it would decide whether Congress may see currently redacted parts of the report prepared by Special Counsel Robert Mueller during his investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election. As is their custom, the justices did not... Read More

High Court Strikes Down Ban on Taxpayer Funding for Religious Schools
Education
High Court Strikes Down Ban on Taxpayer Funding for Religious Schools
June 30, 2020
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court struck down a ban on taxpayer funding for religious schools on Tuesday, saying such institutions can't be prevented from participating in programs that use public funds to support private education. The 5-4 ruling upheld a Montana scholarship program that allows state... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top