The justices of the U.S. Supreme Court gather for a formal group portrait to include the new Associate Justice, top row, far right, at the Supreme Court Building in Washington, Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. Seated from left: Associate Justice Stephen Breyer, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice of the United States John G. Roberts, Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Associate Justice Samuel Alito Jr. Standing behind from left: Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch, Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice Elena Kagan and Associate Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
There’s been some rapid fire developments involving President Trump’s new asylum rules, which require seekers to apply in the first safe country they come to. This is to prevent economic migrants from country shopping and abusing the already overwhelmed asylum process. Seems like common sense, right?
Well, if you are a judge on the 9th Circuit, not so much. Judge Tigar originally put a nationwide injunction in place. Then the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overruled him. Then he simply put the injunction back in place. The Supreme Court had seen enough though and finally made a ruling vacating the entirety of the injunction and slapping Judge Tigar back down to earth.
While the decision was 7-2, this didn’t sit too well with Justice Sotomayor, an Obama appointee to the highest court. She ranted against her colleagues for the decision they made.
“Once again the Executive Branch has issued a rule that seeks to upend longstanding practices regarding refugees who seek shelter from persecution,” Sotomayor wrote in her dissenting opinion. “Although this Nation has long kept its doors open to refugees — and although the stakes for asylum seekers could not be higher — the Government implemented its rule without first providing the public notice and inviting the public input generally required by law.”
You know what this sounds like? A baseless emotional appeal. The vast majority of asylum seekers are not escaping persecution. For those that are, Mexico provides a safe haven for them to evade immediate danger. The point of asylum is not to go find a better life and opportunity. It’s to prevent bodily harm. Trump’s new policy, partnering with the Mexican authorities, does just that.
We simply do not have the resources to accept every single person who wants to claim asylum. Especially not when well over 80% of cases are fraudulent.
Sotomayor also slammed the Trump administration for requesting the Supreme Court to allow the rule when lower courts ruled against the move. “Unfortunately, it appears the Government has treated this exceptional mechanism as a new normal,” she wrote. “Historically, the Government has made this kind of request rarely; now it does so reflexively.”
“This is an extraordinary request,” Sotomayor continued. “Unfortunately, the Court acquiesces. Because I do not believe the Government has met its weighty burden for such relief, I would deny the stay.”
When you’ve got a judge going completely rogue in the 9th Circuit, flaunting even the decision of the appeals court, how exactly does that not meet the burden for the Supreme Court to step in? Heck, that’s part of the reason the Supreme Court exists. To be the final arbitrator of such issues.
Past that though, you know what you don’t see in Sotomayor’s angry dissent? An appeal to the law. Nowhere does she list out why Judge Tigar’s decision was proper in the first place. She doesn’t explain why the DOJ is wrong to seek relief in the face of an activist judge that won’t obey higher rulings. Instead, all you get are emotional ravings.
That may be fine for political punditry. It’s not fine for the Supreme Court. Sotomayor is a partisan actor. Nothing more. Every single decision she makes is based on whether it follows liberal orthodoxy. While the left complains about “right wing” judges simply following the constitution, the left wing judges on the court continue to scoff at the plain text of the law in order to bend the country to their preferred outcome.
So while Sotomayor may be taking aim at her colleagues, her statement says far more about herself than it does them.
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