In a surprise decision late Friday, the Supreme Court struck down a lower court ruling, 5-4, against President Trump’s declaration of an emergency on the border with Mexico. The ruling clears the way for Trump to redirect $2.5 billion from the Pentagon to build his long-promised border wall. The ultimate issue is still to be decided by the courts, but Friday’s decision allows the money to be spent now. It follows a scathing report this week, from the Washington Examiner, that despite the central promise of his campaign, Trump had not built a single mile of new border fence since assuming office.
“Are you an American citizen?” Although this question seems simple, it is surrounded by controversy. The most recent of which comes from a Supreme Court case involving adding an additional question to the Census. This question would ask American residents if they are citizens. Despite the conservative lean of the court, they delayed the president’s action, perhaps long enough to keep it off the 2020 Census. The court claimed that the White House’s explanation for adding the question was insufficient. They felt that President’s reason was “more of a distraction” than an explanation.
Call it the calm before the storm. After another relatively quiet Monday, the Supreme Court adjourned for the week, leaving its most divisive work for another time. The Court did decide three cases, two of them by unanimous decision, and rejected others. More than two dozen cases remain over the Court’s final three weeks, setting the stage for a potentially explosive finish.
If it’s Monday in the late spring, it’s Decision Day on the Supreme Court. Justices handed down decisions in four cases yesterday, both unanimous and contentious, and at least one surprising in its makeup. Medicare reimbursements, bankruptcy law, job bias suits, and supervised release made up the docket this week. The big ticket items, however, remain.
These days, the Supreme Court is in the news as much for what it does not do as what it does do. On Tuesday, the Court did not hear an appeal to an abortion case, but did strike down a state restriction on the practice, yet not the whole law. They also did not intervene in a case involving transgender students, or comment why, leaving another lower court ruling in place. However, the Court did issue a decisive ruling in favor of law enforcement in a free speech case. The decisions may offer guidance to Court watchers as to what justices may do this term and next.