In Blistering Dissent Sotomayor Slams White House For Seeking Emergency Powers On Controversial Issues
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.
In The News
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court should overturn its landmark 1973 ruling that legalized abortion nationwide and let states decide whether to regulate abortion before a fetus can survive outside the womb, the office of Mississippi's Republican attorney general argued in papers filed Thursday... Read More
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Supreme Court plans to hear a case in its next term that could expand rights of discrimination victims to collect compensation for "emotional distress." A ruling that allows the compensation could widely broaden the liability for discrimination, potentially allowing anyone victimized by... Read More
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court on Thursday struck down a California law that required nonprofits to disclose lists of their biggest donors, holding the requirement burdened donors’ First Amendment rights and was not narrowly tailored to an important government interest. In a 6-3 ruling authored by... Read More
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court ruled Thursday to uphold two provisions of Arizona’s election law that critics argued unfairly impinged on the rights of Black, Hispanic and Native Americans voters. By a 6-3 margin, the justices held that a 2016 law that limits who can return... Read More
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday a company building a natural gas pipeline in New Jersey can continue to rely on eminent domain to claim state land in its path. The 5-4 ruling by the court included both liberal and conservative members of the court... Read More
WASHINGTON (AP) — A closely watched voting rights dispute from Arizona is among five cases standing between the Supreme Court and its summer break. But even before the justices wrap up their work, likely later this week, they could say whether they'll add more high-profile issues... Read More