Supreme Court Declines to Intervene in Caravan Asylum Case

caravan (Pedro Pardo / AFP / Getty)
Pedro Pardo / AFP / Getty
Washington, DC

WASHINGTON, DC – The Supreme Court declined on Friday to step into a legal challenge to President Trump’s asylum caravan proceedings, allowing that case to proceed in the lower courts until next year.

President Trump issued Presidential Proclamation 9822 on November 9, responding to the caravans approaching the southern border by requiring asylum claims along the Mexican border to be made at a U.S. port of entry.

Judge Steven Tigar of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California – well-known as a liberal judge – issued a temporary restraining order to block the president’s policy from taking effect.

The case is still pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. That San Francisco-based court denied the U.S. Department of Justice’s request to stay the trial court’s order and allow the policy to take effect while the appeal is ongoing. The appellate court denied that request for a stay in a 2-1 decision, and is in the process of hearing the full appeal.

U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco petitioned the Supreme Court to grant a stay during the Ninth Circuit’s appeal.

The justices denied that stay on Friday in a 5-4 decision. Chief Justice John Roberts joined the liberal wing of the High Court to deny the stay, leaving in place Tigar’s injunction blocking the policy. Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh all voted to grant the stay.

Once the Ninth Circuit issues a final decision, the losing party – presumably the United States government – can again petition the Supreme Court to take the case, which the justices are almost certain to do.

The president’s supporters should be encouraged that Kavanaugh sided with Thomas, Alito, and Gorsuch, though may have grounds for concern that Roberts sided with the liberal justices. It is possible that the chief justice could side with the Trump administration when the full case reaches the Court, though it is unlikely to be argued before October 2019. If so, the case might not be finally decided until early 2020.

The application is in Trump v. East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, No. 18A615 in the Supreme Court of the United States. The appeal is East Bay Sanctuary Covenant v. Trump, No. 18-17274 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Ken Klukowski is senior legal editor for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @kenklukowski.

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