Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote a scathing dissenting opinion on Friday, on the SCOTUS ruling that allows the trump administration to enforce the “public” charge rule against immigrants in the state of Illinois, accusing her conservative colleagues of being nakedly biased towards the trump administration.
As reported by www.scotusblog.com/…, last month the Supreme Court granted the federal government’s request for permission to enforce a rule known as the “public charge” rule, which prohibits non-citizens from receiving a green card if the government believes that they are “likely at any time to become a public charge.” By a 5-4 vote on Friday evening, the SCOTUS allowed the government to enforce the rule in Illinois while it appeals an order by a district court there that prohibited the government from enforcing the rule in that state. All 4 liberal justices indicated that they would have denied the government’s request.
The order enables the government to enforce the “public charge” rule in Illinois while its appeal is pending in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit – which is scheduled to hear oral argument in the case next week.
The justice warned that her colleagues are favoring the Trump administration over everyone else. https://t.co/ptP70Dy5AH
— Slate (@Slate) February 22, 2020
Here are some excerpts from Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s withering dissent (emphasis mine) –
Today’s decision follows a now-familiar pattern. The Government seeks emergency relief from this Court, asking it to grant a stay where two lower courts have not. 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. And the Court yields.
The Government cannot state with precision any of the supposed harm that would come from the Illinois-specific injunction, and the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has scheduled oral argument for next week. 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. It is hard to say what is more troubling: that the Government would seek this extraordinary relief seemingly as a matter of course, or that the Court would grant it.
She lays out the hollowness of the Government’s arguments –
The Government has not quantified or explained any burdens that would arise from this state of the world. Indeed, until this Court granted relief in the New York cases, the Government itself did not consider this Illinois-specific harm serious enough to warrant asking this Court for relief.
These facts—all of which undermine the Government’s assertion of irreparable harm—show two things, one about the Government’s conduct and one about this Court’s own. First, the Government has come to treat “th[e] exceptional mechanism” of stay relief “as a new normal.” …. Claiming one emergency after another, the Government has recently sought stays in an unprecedented number of cases, demanding immediate attention and consuming limited Court resources in each. And with each successive application, of course, its cries of urgency ring increasingly hollow.
She also lays the blame on the conservative justices of the Court –
Second, this Court is partly to blame for the breakdown in the appellate process. That is because the Court—in this case, the New York cases, and many others—has been all too quick to grant the Government’s “reflexiv[e]” requests.
And delivers a strong admonishment on the Court’s acquiescence to the administration’s wishes over the needs and rights of the People —
Perhaps most troublingly, the Court’s recent behavior on stay applications has benefited one litigant over all others. This Court often permits executions—where the risk of irreparable harm is the loss of life—to proceed, justifying many of those decisions on purported failures “to raise any potentially meritorious claims in a timely manner.” … Yet the Court’s concerns over quick decisions wither when prodded by the Government in far less compelling circumstances—where the Government itself chose to wait to seek relief, and where its claimed harm is continuation of a 20-year status quo in one State. I fear that this disparity in treatment erodes the fair and balanced decision making process that this Court must strive to protect.
I respectfully dissent.
slate.com/… summarizes it thus –
Put simply: When some of the most despised and powerless among us ask the Supreme Court to spare their lives, the conservative justices turn a cold shoulder. When the Trump administration demands permission to implement some cruel, nativist, and potentially unlawful immigration restrictions, the conservatives bend over backward to give it everything it wants. There is nothing “fair and balanced” about the court’s double standard that favors the government over everyone else. And, as Sotomayor implies, this flagrant bias creates the disturbing impression that the Trump administration has a majority of the court in its pocket.
A Few Reactions
The majority on SCOTUS has little loyalty to the Constitution, the legislative branch, or democracy. Their masters are the Federalist society, the Right wing, and the Republican Party. They have made the Court system into a joke. https://t.co/IVr4PME78K
— Howard Dean (@GovHowardDean) February 22, 2020
She is a hero. She does not get the press of RBG. (Which RBG has certainly earned.) But Sonia Sotomayor is one of the most important, courageous, clear-thinking, ethical, wise, strong women in our history and a vital voice in this perilous time. https://t.co/VzunrGTlcR
— David Rothkopf (@djrothkopf) February 22, 2020
Democracy isn’t dying in darkness, it’s dying in the plain light of day. With every turn of the head & shrug of the shoulders, with every handshake hung on quid pro quo, our democratic institutions are under siege in clandestine silence.
Sonia Sotomayor https://t.co/KycZJ0iLZQ
— Trish Zornio (@trish_zornio) February 22, 2020
This a big step for a Supreme Court Justice to openly call out her colleagues. One can only imagine what these liberal Justices are feeling right now, knowing what they know about the inner workings of the SCOTUS.
Also, Sotomayor is writing what we have been saying all along — that the conservative majority in the Supreme Court no longer serves the People. They are beholden to the party and its ideology. The third pillar of our Democracy has become hollow and rotten.
This November may be our last chance to save our nation; let’s keep working on it. Let’s keep our eye on the ball, and stay away from pie fights over which Democrat said what so many years ago. Even if our favorite candidate does not win the primary, every candidate of ours is a million times better than trump and every Democrat is better than the hollow and corrupt men that infest the GOP.