The Supreme Court declined to issue a ruling on whether Republican-led states have the authority to defend a rule former President Trump’s administration issued seeking to restrict immigration benefits for people deemed likely to seek government aid, Politico reports. The justices heard arguments in February on whether Republican-led states had the right to defend the legality of Trump’s “public charge” rule after President Biden’s administration abandoned the policy. Four justices signed on to a concurring opinion that raised doubts about the Biden administration’s decision to give up in lawsuits against the plan that were left over from the Trump administration.
“This allowed the Government to circumvent the usual and important requirement … that a regulation originally promulgated using notice and comment (as the Public Charge Rule was) may only be repealed through notice and comment,” said Chief Justice John Roberts, joined by Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch. “As part of this tactic of ‘rulemaking-by-collective-acquiescence … ’ the Government successfully opposed efforts by other interested parties — including petitioners here — to intervene in order to carry on the defense of the Rule, including possibly before this Court. These maneuvers raise a host of important questions.” Roberts said that the the case raised “a mare’s nest” of issues beyond the states’ authority to intervene, and the complexity made it unwise for the court to resolve it. He cautioned that the non-decision “should not be taken as reflective of” the court's view on those questions or of pending litigation over new Biden administration policymaking on immigration.