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Supreme Court Delivers Ruling As Border Crisis Worsens

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected a lawsuit filed by a number of Republican states to block the Biden administration from ending the Title 42 mandate that allowed for quick deportation of most illegal immigrants.

The rule, implemented by then-President Donald Trump as the COVID-19 pandemic began spreading throughout the country and the world, was one of several border security policies that were credited with reducing the rate of illegal crossings to 45-year lows. The GOP-led states argued that the Biden administration’s decision to end it was improperly implemented.

“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 nation’s highest court wrote in its decision.

Over 2 million illegal migrants were expelled under the order, the outlet noted further.

In the ruling, Justice Neil Gorsuch said that the legal wrangling over Title 42 was akin to “head-spinning” and said Thursday the court was putting “a final twist on the tale.”

“Since March 2020, we may have experienced the greatest intrusion on civil liberties in the peacetime history of this country… leaders imposed lockdown orders…shuttered businesses and schools,” he wrote.

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“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.

Continuing, Gorsuch added this powerful passage: “They can lead to a clamor for action—almost any action—as long as someone does something to address a perceived threat. 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.”

While at times, executive action “is sometimes necessary and appropriate,” Gorsuch went on to warn that excessive actions are a threat to liberty and constitutional protections.

“…[I]f 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.

Biden administration officials said that in the days before the end of Title 42, there were dramatic increases in illegal crossings, but added that encounters since then have fallen to around 4,000 a day.

Last week, the Biden administration got stung with another unanimous ruling from the Supreme Court, which of course, included his nominee, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson.

In a 9-0 ruling, the Supreme Court found on Friday that some individuals convicted of gun crimes may receive reduced prison sentences. In those cases, gun-related offenses can be served concurrently, The Epoch Times reported.

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“Congress could certainly have designed the penalty scheme at issue here differently. But Congress did not do any of these things. And we must implement the design Congress chose,” Jackson wrote in the ruling.

The Epoch Times added:

The case involves two subsections of 18 U.S.C. 924. Subsection (c) outlines offenses and penalties, and states that “no term of imprisonment imposed on a person under this subsection shall run concurrently with any other term of imprisonment imposed on the person.” Subsection (j), which was added more recently, outlines other offenses and corresponding penalties. It does not include language about forbidding concurrent sentences.

District courts typically possess discretion in determining whether prison sentences should run concurrently or consecutively. However, specific laws may prohibit the imposition of concurrent sentences in certain circumstances, the outlet noted further.

Efrain Lora, the individual who initiated the case, was found guilty of aiding and abetting an individual involved in drug trafficking or a violent crime while carrying or using a firearm. Lora was also convicted of conspiracy to distribute drugs.

Lora, along with three accomplices, engaged in cocaine trafficking and committed a murder of a rival drug dealer in 2002 in New York City, stemming from a territorial dispute. U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe, who President George W. Bush appointed, sentenced Lora based on a law that prohibits concurrent sentences for offenses that involve one of the crimes for which Lora was convicted. Lora received a 25-year prison term for the conspiracy charge, followed by an additional five years for the other crime. An appeals court later upheld the decision.

Lora also argued that his sentences should have been concurrent, noting that the law cited by the judge didn’t cover the aiding and abetting offenses. Federal prosecutors agreed and argued on appeal that the lower courts got it right and that Supreme Court had no need to review the case.

But all nine justices sided with Lora.

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