Supreme Court Abandons Pretense of Impartiality In Immigration Ruling

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Carolyn Bobb

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 25, 2021 – In an unsigned ruling Tuesday night, the U.S. Supreme Court’s six conservative justices refused to block a sweeping nationwide injunction by a Trump-appointed district court judge in Texas requiring the Biden administration to reinstate President Trump’s inhumane “Remain in Mexico” policy for asylum seekers attempting to enter the United States. The Biden administration had legally suspended the policy and is currently engaged in ongoing diplomatic negotiations with Mexico regarding the status of migrant families on the Southern border.

By upholding the decision of Judge Matthew J. Kacsmaryk of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, the Supreme Court’s conservative majority is effectively dictating the Biden administration’s foreign policy negotiations with Mexico. This represents a marked departure from centuries of legal precedent in which federal judges have deferred to the executive branch on matters of foreign policy, as directed by the Constitution. The Court’s decision is also a break with its own past precedent under the Trump administration when the Court’s conservatives consistently struck down nationwide injunctions of the Trump administration’s immigration policies, including the Muslim ban, citing the administration’s authority to make foreign policy decisions.

The Supreme Court’s decision was issued as part of the Court’s “shadow docket.” The decision offers no explanation for the ruling, and notes that the Court’s three liberal justices objected to the ruling.

Alliance for Justice President Nan Aron issued the following statement:

“AFJ strongly opposed the confirmation of Matthew Kacsmaryk to the U.S. District Court, citing his lack of judicial temperament, overt partisanship and extreme views on LGBTQ+ rights, among other things. Given his history, it was completely unsurprising that Judge Kacsmaryk issued a dangerous, inhumane and overtly partisan decision attempting to dictate U.S. foreign policy from his Court room in Amarillo, Texas.

“The Supreme Court’s conservative majority has refused to block this indefensible decision, in what can only be described as an outcome-driven decision based far more on the conservative justices’ extreme right-wing ideology than any form of reasoned judicial philosophy or appropriate reading of the law.

“That this decision is so far out of line with the Court’s conservatives’ immigration rulings during the Trump administration only underscores the Court’s capture by partisan political actors completely unmoored from respect for the Constitution or any semblance of deference to the rule of law. Serious court reform simply cannot wait, and every option, including expanding the number of justices, needs to be under serious consideration to prevent further harm to our democratic system of government.”