SCOTUS dismisses GOP-led state appeal over Title 42 order’s expiration

The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a pending appeal over the ending of the Title 42 public health order, having already canceled oral arguments as the Biden administration moved to end all COVID-19 restrictions. “The December 16, 2022 order of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit denying pe­titioners’ motion to intervene is vacated, and the case is re­manded to that court with instructions to dismiss the mo­tion as moot,” the court said. The Title 42 public health order was a COVID-era policy that allowed for the rapid expulsion of migrants at the southern border. It was initiated by the Trump administration and continued by the Biden administration. Over two million migrants were expelled under the order. SUPREME COURT DROPS TITLE 42 CASE FROM CALENDAR AFTER BIDEN ADMIN ARGUES CASE IS ‘MOOT’  The Biden administration had sought to end the order in 2022 but was blocked after an appeal from Republican states. It then faced an ACLU lawsuit, from which a court ordered that Title 42 be ended in December. But the Supreme Court accepted a request for a stay by 19 Republican states, who argued that the state could intervene to challenge the summary judgment order. The Court was expected to rule in the spring of this year, but the Biden administration then announced that the COVID-19 emergency declaration would end on May 11, and Title 42 along with it. Since the order would then expire by its own terms, the court dropped oral arguments from the calendar scheduled for the appeal. The ending of the order brought widespread concerns that it would spark a fresh migrant surge at the border with migrants believing they have a better chance of being admitted to the U.S. There were record numbers of encounters in the days leading up to the order, with 10,000 encounters a day last week. But numbers have dropped sharply since then, with administration officials saying this week that numbers are now at around 4,000 encounters a day. Administration officials warned, however, that conclusions should not be drawn about what would happen in the weeks ahead. In the Supreme Court’s ruling, Justice Neil Gorsuch called the back-and-forth over Title 42 “head-spinning” and said that on Thursday the court was putting “a final twist on the tale.” “Apparently, these developments are enough to persuade the Court that the Title 42 orders the government wished to withdraw a year ago are now as good as gone and any dispute over them is moot,” he said. He argued that the case “illustrated the disruption we have experienced over the last three years in how our laws are made and our freedoms observed.” BIDEN ADMIN ‘ENCOURAGED’ BY LOWER POST-TITLE 42 NUMBERS, BUT URGES CAUTION FOR WEEKS AHEAD He then recounted the loss of freedom during the COVID years, including lockdown orders, shuttering of businesses and schools, the closing of churches, increased surveillance and other heavy-handed requirements. BIDEN POLICY TO RELEASE ILLEGAL MIGRANTS WITHOUT COURT DATES SUFFERS ANOTHER BLOW AS JUDGE EXTENDS BLOCK “Doubtless, many lessons can be learned from this chapter in our history, and hopefully serious efforts will be made to study it. One lesson might be this: Fear and the desire for safety are powerful forces,” he said. “They can lead to a clamor for action—almost any action—as long as someone does something to address a perceived threat,” he said. “A leader or an expert who claims he can fix everything, if only we do exactly as he says, can prove an irresistible force. We do not need to confront a bayonet, we need only a nudge, before we willingly abandon the nicety of requiring laws to be adopted by our legislative representatives and accept rule by decree.” He said that emergency executive action “is sometimes necessary and appropriate” “But if emergency decrees promise to solve some problems, they threaten to generate others. And rule by indefinite emergency edict risks leaving all of us with a shell of a democracy and civil liberties just as hollow,” he said.
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