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 February 18, 2023

The Supreme Court has removed Title 42 oral arguments from the calendar

The Supreme Court has canceled a high-profile oral argument about Title 42, which restricts migrants' ability to seek asylum in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

The court canceled the March 1 oral argument without explanation on Thursday. The justices were set to hear an attempt by 19 Republican-led states to intervene in the case and preserve the policy, which was first implemented under former President Trump, according to a report by The Hill.

The Biden administration, which has had a complicated relationship with Title 42, filed a brief last week arguing that the case will be moot once the administration lifts the public health emergency on May 11.

“Absent other relevant developments, the end of the public health emergency will (among other consequences) terminate the Title 42 orders and moot this case,” the Justice Department wrote.

“The government has also recently announced its intent to adopt new Title 8 policies to address the situation at the border once the Title 42 orders end,” it added, referring to the section of the U.S. code that lays out the standard process for removing migrants from the country.

Title 42 has been chastised by immigration advocates for being incompatible with American and international laws governing the right to asylum, but both the Trump and Biden administrations have embraced it.

The Biden administration moved to revoke Title 42 in April, but the decision was quickly challenged in court, leading lower courts to reinstate the policy.

Since then, the administration has expanded Title 42 to include Cubans, Venezuelans, Nicaraguans, and Haitians, as well as launching a program that allows citizens from those countries to apply for entry into the country for up to two years.

Late last year, a federal district court judge ruled the policy was illegal and ordered the administration to phase it out by December.

The group of Republican-led states is attempting to intervene in the case in order to defend the policy, and the justices have previously stayed the lower ruling while they consider the case, effectively allowing Title 42 to remain in effect for the time being.

As the oral argument approached, Biden announced late last month that the public health emergency and national emergency declared in connection with the pandemic would be lifted.

The administration told the justices that lifting the emergency declarations would render the case moot, but Republicans argue that the policy requires its own individual termination order.

The court removes a case from its schedule, or "docket," for a number of reasons, the most common of which include, the case reaching a settlement or resolution, the case is withdrawn, or if a lower court's ruling is overturned or vacated.

Procedural issues could also be a reason for removal if it determines that the case was improperly brought before it or if there are procedural issues that must be resolved before the case can proceed, or if the issues in a case are no longer relevant or have been resolved by subsequent events, the case may be removed from the docket as moot.

Written By:
Charlotte Tyler

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