A future conservative nominee could affect issues ranging from womens reproductive health to LGBT rights
When, merely weeks after taking office, Donald Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch to the supreme court, the freshly minted US president made good on a central promise of his campaign: to replace the late justice Antonin Scalia with a bona fide conservative.
That moment portended what is shaping up to be among the most indelible of Trump’s triumphs- the reshaping of the federal judiciary with the appointment of dozens of judges with an ideological bent toward the administration’s agenda.
Republicans are working with Trump to make a record-breaking number of appointments to federal tribunals. These new, largely young, white men will be in a position to rule on legislation that could change America for years.
But the most contentious appointment would be a second nomination to the highest court in the land. The supreme court has over decades delivered landmark decisions on issues from abortion to affirmative action and same-sex matrimony. The possibilities for Trump to install another justice on the nine-seat bench, some legal expert argue, could have profound repercussions on issues ranging from women’s reproductive health to LGBT rights.
With speculation mount over the possible retirement of supreme court justice Anthony Kennedy, Trump could have a lasting impact on reshaping America’s most important court.
” If President Trump fills another vacancy on the court it will have an enormous effect ,” said Erwin Chemerinsky, the dean of Berkeley School of Law at the University of California.
” It will create the most conservative court since the mid-1 930 s ,” he added.” It would entail a majority to overrule Roe v Wade and to allow states to prohibit abortions, to eliminate all manner of affirmative action, to eliminate constitutional limits on illegal police conduct .”
The president himself underscored the power of future vacancies earlier this year, where reference is tweeted that Republican” must ALWAYS hold the Supreme court !”.
While it is not unusual for presidents to appoint supreme court justices with similar ideological tilts, Trump’s comments all but reinforced that he is unlikely to nominate a consensus pick if the opportunity. In November, the president updated his shortlist of nominees for a hypothetical vacancy, adding to a roster of proven judicial conservatives.
While the likelihood of a pending vacancy is far from corroborated, judicial watchers have set their sights on Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a progressive icon who turned 85 this year, and Kennedy, a critical sway election who has been the subject of retirement rumors for the second straight year.
Justices refuse to take up appeal of a lower court order involving continued acceptance of renewal applications for Dreamers
The supreme court has rejected the Trump administration’s unusual request to bypass a federal court of appeals in a case stemming from the president’s cancellation of a program that protects young immigrants known as Dreamers.
The court’s decision on Monday against intervening in a California lawsuit means the government must continue to accept renewal applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or Daca.
The California us attorney general, Xavier Becerra, who brought the suit, said the decision was a victory for the “rule of law” and the 800,000 people protected from expulsion by the program.” We hope all these victories are adding up to show this is a program that is fully legal ,” Becerra said.
In September 2017, the Trump administration cancelled Daca, which offerstemporary protection against expulsion and grants eligibility for work permits to people who migrated to the US as children but do not have legal status.
The Daca program was to end on 5 March, but because of decisions in the California lawsuit and a separate lawsuit in New York, the government is obliged to continue accepting renewal applications, perhaps indefinitely. People who have never had Daca benefits, however, cannot apply for the program under the courts’ orders.
” While we were hopeful for a different outcome, the supreme court very rarely grants certiorari before judgment, though in our view it was warranted for the extraordinary injunction involving the Department of Homeland Security to maintain Daca ,” a Department of Justice spokesman, Devin O’Malley, said in a statement, referring to the decision to review a instance or not, sometimes known as “cert”.
” We will continue to defend DHS’ lawful authority to wind down Daca in an orderly manner ,” he said.
The California and New York injunctions have been appealed to federal tribunals.
” It seems likely that injunctions that are in effect will stay in effect until those courts of appeals regulation, which would be at the earliest in June or later ,” said the immigration attorney Andrew Pincus, who has argued in the supreme court.
The injunctions could stay in effect beyond those rulings if the appeals courts affirm the lower courts’ decisions.
Immigration proponents cheered the supreme court decision, but underscored the necessity of achieving a permanent solution for Dreamers.
” I’m thrilled with the supreme court decision ,” said Eliana Fernandez, a plaintiff in the New York case.
Fernandez, a mom to two children born in the US, called on Congress to pass the Dream Act, which would create a pathway to citizenship for her and other Dreamers, but which has failed to be passed by successive administrations.
Donald Trump has repeatedly said he wants Congress to create a answer for Dreamers, but his decision to cancel the program has left the lives of those protected by the program hanging in the balance.
The White House spokesman Raj Shah said in a statement that Daca” is clearly unlawful “.
” The district judge’s decision to unilaterally reimpose a program that Congress had explicitly and repeatedly repudiated is a usurpation of legislative authority ,” Shah said.
In a brief unsigned remark, the justices say they assume” the court of appeals will proceed expeditiously to decide this case “.
Trump had set 5 March as the end date for the Dacaprogram.
It is unclear how the court’s action Monday will affect efforts in Congress to come up with a legislative fixing. The Senate recently failed to pass an immigration bill.
The supreme court rarely hears a lawsuit before a lower appeals court has considered it. The fight over whether Richard Nixon had to turn over the Watergate videotapes is one such example.