Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor justifiably ripped her conservative peers to pieces for letting apparent allegiances to President Donald Trump cloud their judgment on the president’s latest request for an emergency stay regarding a discriminatory rule that takes effect Monday. Sotomayor was responding to a 5-4 Supreme Court decision granting one of the Trump administration’s all-too-frequent requests for an emergency stay, this time to allow nationwide implementation of a rule that makes it more challenging for immigrants to achieve legal status if they use public aid like food stamps. “It is hard to say what is more troubling,” Sotomayor wrote in her dissent, “ that the Government would seek this extraordinary relief seemingly as a matter of course, or that the Court would grant it.”
Sotomayor explained that the new regulation now defines a public charge as “an alien who receives one or more designated public benefits for more than 12 months.” “The Government insists—even though review in a court of appeals is imminent—that it will suffer irreparable harm if this Court does not grant a stay,” Sotomayor said. “And the Court yields. But this application is perhaps even more concerning than past ones.”
Sotomayor said stay applications expedite the process in a way that forces the Supreme Court to “consider important statutory and constitutional questions that have not been ventilated fully in the lower courts.” “They upend the normal appellate process, putting a thumb on the scale in favor of the party that won a stay,” she said. Sotomayor said this time: “The Government’s professed harm, therefore, boils down to an inability to enforce its immigration goals, possibly in only the immediate term, in one of 50 States.”
The American Civil Liberties Union tweeted Saturday that the public charge rule began as part of the eugenics movement, which was basically selective breeding to enforce a white supremacist agenda. “We should be ashamed that our country is returning to a mindset that devalues and rejects people with disabilities,” the nonprofit said in the tweet.
The public charge rule began as part of the eugenics movement.
We should be ashamed that our country is returning to a mindset that devalues and rejects people with disabilities.https://t.co/aaCpy50eUL
— ACLU (@ACLU) February 22, 2020
Rep. Eric Swalwell of California called the rule “the latest example of the president’s arrogance and cruelty” in a CNN op-ed. “Public charge rules were used to exclude tens of thousands of German Jews who were trying to flee Nazi oppression,” he wrote. “Sadly, when the Supreme Court ruled January 27 to clear the way for President Trump’s rule to take effect, it did so on International Holocaust Remembrance Day. #NeverAgain should not just be a hashtag—it should be a commitment.”
But human decency is pretty low on the president’s list of priorities, and as with many of his senseless decisions, he was in no way short of supporters. Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, wrote his own op-ed for The Hill Monday. “Immigrants who seek opportunity in our country should do so in accordance with the longstanding American value and basic principle of United States immigration law and policy dating back to 1882, namely self-sufficiency,” he wrote in an overt display of his own ignorance.