The Supreme Court is agreeing to review a Trump administration policy that makes asylum-seekers wait in Mexico for U.S. court hearings.
As is typical, the court did not comment Monday in announcing it would hear the case. Because the court's calendar is already full through the end of the year, the justices will not hear the case until 2021. If Joe Biden were to win the presidential election and rescind the policy, the case would become largely moot.
Trump's “Migrant Protection Protocols” policy, known informally as “Remain in Mexico,” was introduced in January 2019. It became a key pillar of the administration’s response to an unprecedented surge of asylum-seeking families at the border, drawing criticism for having people wait in highly dangerous Mexican cities.
Lower courts found that the policy is probably illegal. But earlier this year the Supreme Court stepped in to allow the policy to remain in effect while a lawsuit challenging it plays out in the courts.
More than 60,000 asylum-seekers were returned to Mexico under the policy. The Justice Department estimated in late February that there were 25,000 people still waiting in Mexico for hearings in U.S. court. Those hearings were suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett batted away Democrats’ skeptical questions Tuesday on abortion, health care and a possible disputed-election fight over transferring presidential power, insisting in a long and lively confirmation hearing she would bring no personal agenda to the court but decide cases “as they come.”
The 48-year-old appellate court judge declared her conservative views with often colloquial language, but refused many specifics. She declined to say whether she would recuse herself from any election-related cases involving President Donald Trump, who nominated her to fill the seat of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and is pressing to have her confirmed before the the Nov. 3 election.
“Judges can’t just wake up one day and say I have an agenda ? I like guns, I hate guns, I like abortion, I hate abortion ? and walk in like a royal queen and impose their will on the world,” Barrett told the Senate Judiciary Committee during its second day of hearings.
“It’s not the law of Amy,” she said. “It’s the law of the American people.”
Barrett returned to a Capitol Hill mostly shut down by COVID-19 protocols, the mood quickly shifting to a more confrontational tone from opening day. She was grilled by Democrats strongly opposed to Trump’s nominee yet unable to stop her. Excited by the prospect of a judge aligned with the late Antonin Scalia, Trump’s Republican allies are rushing ahead to install a 6-3 conservative court majority for years to come.
The president seemed pleased with her performance. “I think Amy’s doing incredibly well,” he said at the White House departing for a campaign rally.
Trump has said he wants a justice seated for any disputes arising from his heated election with Democrat Joe Biden, but Barrett testified she has not spoken to Trump or his team about election cases. Pressed by panel Democrats, she skipped past questions about ensuring the date of the election or preventing voter intimidation, both set in federal law, and the peaceful transfer of presidential power. She declined to commit to recusing herself from any post-election cases without first consulting the other justices.
“I can’t offer an opinion on recusal without short-circuiting that entire process,” she said.
A frustrated Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the panel, all but implored the nominee to be more specific about how she would handle landmark abortion cases, including Roe v. Wade and the follow-up Pennsylvania case Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which confirmed it in large part.
The first of several Black Lives Matter protests across Australia on Saturday got underway against a backdrop of possible clashes between demonstrators and police in Sydney, after a court sided with police that the gathering posed too much risk for spreading the coronavirus.
The first gathering in the southern city of Adelaide was held to honor George Floyd and to protest against the deaths of indigenous Australians in custody.
That was the plan in Sydney as well, where thousands of people were expected to rally. But New South Wales state Supreme Court Justice Des Fagan ruled on Friday that the rally was not an authorized public assembly. Fagan said he understood the rally was designed to coincide with similar events in other countries.
“I don’t diminish the importance of the issues and no one would deny them in normal circumstances,” he said. “No one denies them that but we’re talking about a situation of a health crisis.”
Floyd, a black man, died in handcuffs while a Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee on his neck even after he pleaded for air and stopped moving. In Sydney, outdoor gatherings are restricted to 10 people, while up to 50 people can go to funerals, places of worship, restaurants, pubs and cafes.
A proposal striking at the proliferation of TV, radio and billboard ads blanketing Louisiana is headed to the state House for debate after winning support from senators Thursday.
Sen. Heather Cloud’s bill would declare as false or misleading those lawyer ads in which a person claims to have received the full amount of a settlement or judgment. Instead, the ads would have to disclose how much was deducted for attorney fees, expert witness fees, court costs and any other expenses related to the litigation.
Advertisements deemed to be deceptive could be prosecuted as an unfair trade practice violation.
Cloud, a Republican from Turkey Creek, said lawyers are making false promises of big payouts, encouraging people to file lawsuits against businesses. But she said people who file the lawsuits only get a small slice of the money from the judgments and settlements in most instances.