Supreme Court Rules Against Biden Administration in Immigration Case


The Supreme Court has ruled against the Biden Administration in a landmark immigration case, the latest in a long series of setbacks the conservative-controlled court has dealt the Democratic president.

Oddly, conservative justice Amy Coney Barrett sided with the court’s three liberal justices, Elena Kagan, Sonya Sotomayor, and newcomer Ketanji Brown Jackson in the dissent. 

The case centered around the Biden Administration’s attempts to put new policy guidance into effect along the country’s southern border with Mexico. The policy would emphasize that Border Patrol move to prioritize the deportation of people arriving illegally who pose the greatest public safety risk to the public.

What the Biden Administration Wanted

The Biden Administration was seeking court intervention in a matter related to the September directive from the Department of Homeland Security. That directive temporarily paused the deportation of immigrants unless they had committed acts of terrorism, espionage, or “egregious threats to public safety.”

The complicated case is the latest turn in the confusing tangle of laws, executive orders, court decisions, and enforcement policies that snarl conditions around the US’s southern border.

Each day, thousands of migrants arrive at the US border seeking entry into the country. The US’s path to citizenship is notoriously difficult to navigate, and many potential immigrants simply take their chances entering the country illegally.

The Supreme Court’s decision will hold until it hears arguments in the case in November. In the meantime, migrants at the border are caught in a bizarre legal limbo, waiting on more guidance from the Supreme Court until the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency can figure out what they’re legally required to do with newcomers to the country. 

Ketanji Brown Jackson

Notably, this decision was the first ruled on by Ketanji Brown Jackson, the newest member of the court. Jackson took her role on June 30, following Stephen Breyer’s decision to step down from the role of justice.

By stepping down in the middle of Joe Biden’s term as president, Breyer allowed Democrats to fill his role with another progressive Justice, maintaining the court’s 6-3 split between conservatives and liberals. 

The previous three appointees to the court, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett, were all nominated by former US President Donald Trump.

That unusual volume of appointments rankled many Democrats, who now feel as though the Supreme Court doesn’t fairly represent the views of the public, who elected a Democratic majority to both the White House and Congress in 2020.