September 18, 2021

Supreme Court reportedly preparing to set back Biden agenda in coming months

In a ruling that could have threatening ramifications for President Joe Biden’s broader legislative agenda, earlier this week the U.S. Supreme Court ordered the reinstatement of former President Donald Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy, one of many that his successor began dismantling almost immediately upon taking office in January, as the Washington Times reports.

Former Trump advisor Stephen Miller – who played a pivotal role in crafting that administration’s immigration policy – heralded the outcome as a positive signal regarding the court’s willingness to serve as a strong check on what he sees are a series of lawless moves on the part of Biden to unwind his predecessor’s successes, saying:

My greatest fear was that we would wake up in a world in which all of the precedents that were built up over the last four years to enjoin President Trump’s lawful actions would be suddenly forgotten when it came to President Biden’s illegal actions.

Noting the significance of the justices’ decision on this critical immigration topic, Miller declared in obvious relief, “What the Supreme Court said with its 6-3 ruling is that every single one of Joe Biden’s actions, particularly in the immigration context, are extremely vulnerable.”

With regard to the Remain in Mexico policy, the court denied a request to block a lower court ruling that ordered the reinstatement of the Trump-era rules that compelled migrants to stay south of the border until their cases were adjudicated, countering efforts made by the Biden administration to reverse those protocols earlier this year.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who had sued to prevent the reversal of Trump’s policy, described the potentially wide-ranging importance of this ruling for other of Biden’s questionable executive actions, saying, “It’s fundamentally important because we have a president who looked at federal law and said, ‘I don’t have to follow federal law, I’m the president, I do what I want, I don’t care if it’s in statute, I don’t care if Congress passed it..”.

According to the Times, though the decision in the immigration case was narrow in its specific scope, the court’s refusal to overrule the ruling in the lower court was a strong hint that it may not readily intervene with district and appeals judges — many of whom were appointed by Trump — when it comes to assessing appropriate limits on executive branch power.

That Chief Justice John Roberts was part of the majority in letting stand the order requiring reinstatement of the Remain in Mexico policy has been viewed as especially significant as an indication that he is just as willing to cast a skeptical eye to executive overreach from Biden as he did during the Trump era.

In the wake of the ruling, law professor Josh Blackman wrote, according to the Times, “Chief Justice Roberts has placed President Biden in a pair of cement-filled shoes. He can go nowhere but down,” adding that the commander in chief’s recent decision to extend a federal eviction moratorium despite a Supreme Court finding that the executive lacked the authority to do so is also “on very shaky ground.”

Offering real cause for optimism for those who believe in the constitutional order and the separation of powers it entails, Miller declared, “Every single thing Joe Biden has done is profoundly vulnerable, and the 6-3 ruling, which includes Roberts, makes that abundantly clear.”

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