Friday, Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor issued a blistering dissent spurred by the court’s 5-4 ruling in favor of Trump’s “public charge” policy — a blatantly racist and classist attempt at reducing legal immigration into the United States. Justice Sotomayor used her dissent to condemn the Supreme Court for acting like the Trump administration’s puppet.
As America’s Voice has been highlighting, the Trump administration already sees the John Roberts Supreme Court as part of their team and a key facilitator and defender of the Trump anti-immigrant agenda. Ahead of the Roberts Court’s ruling on the fate of the popular and successful DACA program – and the futures of nearly 700,000 DACA recipients.
Two related pieces of commentary caught our eye, capturing the key points and larger stakes of the Sotomayor dissent.
Charles P. Pierce for Esquire injects this potent commentary on the dissent:
Make no mistake. In this dissent, Justice Sotomayor is calling out the new 5-4 conservative majority—which includes Chief Justice John Roberts—for being White House errand boys. This is an astonishing development. You simply do not ever see this kind of attack on the Court’s objectivity from inside the temple. And the hell of it all is that she’s right. There was no reason for the Court to act so precipitously on this noxious principle except to do the White House’s bidding, and, by doing the White House’s bidding in this way, the 5-4 majority submarined the authority of the appellate system all the way down through the federal judiciary.
There was a time when I actually believed that Roberts cared enough about the institution over which he presides that he never would let it become an adjunct chop-shop to a criminal enterprise. Madame Justice Sotomayor just told me how wrong I was. I stand corrected.
Mark Joseph Stern at Slate adds to the conservation:
This practice, Sotomayor wrote, has “benefited one litigant over all others”: the Trump administration. And the injustice of this favoritism is especially painful in light of the court’s recent refusal to halt unconstitutional executions. “This Court often permits executions—where the risk of irreparable harm is the loss of life—to proceed,” Sotomayor noted, blaming death row inmates for their ostensible failure “to raise any potentially meritorious claims in a timely manner.”
… Put simply: When some of the most despised and powerless among us ask the Supreme Court to spare their lives, the conservative justices turn a cold shoulder. When the Trump administration demands permission to implement some cruel, nativist, and potentially unlawful immigration restrictions, the conservatives bend over backward to give it everything it wants. There is nothing “fair and balanced” about the court’s double standard that favors the government over everyone else. And, as Sotomayor implies, this flagrant bias creates the disturbing impression that the Trump administration has a majority of the court in its pocket.