Justices take immigration circumstances off February calendar

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By Amy Howe


at 2:32 p.m.

The Supreme Court removed two cases from its February argument on Wednesday after the Biden government began to wind down the two immigration policies challenged in the cases. Although the release of an assignment list on a Wednesday morning during the judges’ winter break was unexpected, the decision to remove Mayorkas v Innovation Law Lab and Biden v Sierra Club from the February calendar, which begins February 22, was not. Acting US Attorney General Elizabeth Prelogar had asked the judges on Monday to do just that, with the approval of the challengers in both cases.

Prelogar cited changes in policy announced by President Joe Biden that could potentially bring the cases up for discussion. The Innovation Law Lab challenges a Trump administration policy that enabled the Department of Homeland Security to require non-Mexican immigrants seeking asylum on the southern border to remain in Mexico while they are in hearings waiting for the US. After Biden’s inauguration, the Department of Homeland Security issued a memorandum ending the admission of new immigrants to the “Stay in Mexico” program. The Sierra Club is challenging President Donald Trump’s diverting funds to build the US-Mexico border wall. Biden has banned the use of taxpayers money to build the wall and called for an end to the construction.

The judges also added a new case for the term: PennEast Pipeline Co. v New Jersey, a dispute over PennEast’s efforts to build a natural gas pipeline through Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the company’s natural gas laws to acquire New Jersey land over a significant domain by New Jersey’s sovereign immunity from actions under the 11th Amendment to the Constitution were excluded. PennEast went to the Supreme Court last year where it asked the judges to take the case in order to avoid the “direct, immediate and grave consequences” that the 3rd Circuit ruling would foretell in the country’s energy markets. After the federal government agreed that a review was warranted, the judges added the case to their April calendar – with an additional question about the jurisdiction of the 3rd district to review the case.

This article was originally published by Howe on the Court.

Recommended citation:
Amy Howe, judge remove immigration cases from the February calendar,
SCOTUSblog (February 3, 2021, 2:32 p.m.), https://www.scotusblog.com/2021/02/justices-take-immigration-cases-off-february-calendar/