The Supreme Court in the Mean Season

A summary decision kicks an untold number of legal immigrants off the path to citizenship.

Comments: 215

  1. I suggest that readers search "windfall and Alito" in the Times' search box. Two instances will appear of Justice Alito using the term windfall. One was finding against civil rights lawyers who had been awarded a fee that was larger than customary because of their excellent work. The second referred to windfall benefits of members of public service unions. In the former, SCOTUS reduced the fee; in the latter, the Jarema case, SCOTUS banned the union shop for public employees, allowing free riding, avoiding paying union dues, by workers. An attorney of my acquaintance referred to Justice Alito, as "mean spirited."

  2. A powerful, compelling essay, many thanks. What we need is a new Charles Dickens to begin cataloguing this meanness and its impacts. It was his speciality in the 19th century. How amazing meanness has returned in this age of plenty.

  3. @Bbwalker Maybe stick to US writers. There are more than enough: e.g. (a new) Upton Sinclair, John Steinbeck, John Dos Passos et al.

  4. @Joshua Schwartz, Nice point!

  5. @Bbwalker Barbara Ehrenreich, "Nickled and Dimed"

  6. On top of everything else that is so wrong about this administration, what stands out is the enabling of the Trump administration's by institutions most of us believed were serving the public interest. When asked why these men--mostly men, and some women, why they wanted to become legislators, most of them reply that they are committed to performing public service. Their actions, however, say otherwise. From the absence of universal health care, budgets designed to continue to oppress the ascent of working people--even something like family or maternity leave, America--the one Trump and his minions want to make great again--current policies tend to underscore the lack of compassion of our government. "for some time now that the United States has become a mean country"--no, it's been a while since the US enacted the promise of Emma Lazarus's poem that can be found on the Statue of Liberty--even though the truth of that brief poem is what sustained and inspired most of our ancestors.

  7. @SNA When Trump finally gets around to launching his infrastructure initiative (right), the first project will be changing the plaque on the Statue of Liberty. It will now begin, "Give me your vigorous, your rich, your elite few yearning to grab more money...."

  8. To be frank, I'm not liking my country very much these days. This makes me sad.

  9. @Watchful Most Americans welcome LEGAL immigrants, but do not want ILLEGAL immigrants. They recognize that the US cannot afford (or choose not) to support our own citizens: the poor, the ill, elderly, disabled, veterans, et al., and that they and other US taxpayers cannot possibly support the 20 million illegal immigrants already in the US, much less the hundreds of millions of foreigners who would like to come here. US laws allow foreigners to seek entry and citizenship. Those who do not follow these laws are in this country illegally and should be detained and deported; this is policy in other countries, too. The cruelty lies not in limiting legal immigration, or detaining and deporting illegal immigrants, or forcing those who wish to enter the US to wait for processing. What is cruel, unethical and probably illegal is encouraging parents to bring their children on the dangerous trek to US borders and teaching the parents how to game the system to enter the US by falsely claiming asylum, persecution, etc. Indeed, many believe bringing children on such perilous journeys constitutes child abuse. No other nation has open borders, nor should the US.

  10. @Watchful Then leave. You can't have a country without the concept of and laws around who can be/live there. I, and most, don't want to live in a country with open borders or that sanctions birth tourism, and on and on.

  11. @Mon Ray The new regulation is not directed only at "illegal immigrants." It affects people already here under legal premises. And why the red herring about bringing in children? Your post does not address the issues in the column, but simply reiterates anti-immigrant talking points.

  12. Although I sometimes disagree with Ms. Greenhouse's conclusions, I rarely take issue with her legal reasoning. In this case, I do. Her approval of the court's decision in the Arizona case effectively supports the principle that religious belief can trump the law, seemingly as a counter to other unconstitutional claims that religious convictions provide an antidote to the legal requirement to provide birth control coverage. Since such decisions patently undermine the strictures of the First Amendment, it will be interesting to see how far their advocates are willing to go with them.

  13. @Sam Interesting comments. I am willing to bet that the Supremes will find a way to say that "religious belief" does not apply in the Arizona case. It does apply in cases relating to birth control, gay marriage, etc. In the Supreme Court, "religious belief" comes into play when it helps the arguments of the religious right but not otherwise. It is like "freedom of speech." It can be used to justify all sorts of things. Many of the justices just decide cases based on their personal biases and prejudices then dress it up with talk about "originalism," "textualism," "strict construction," and so forth. Best wishes and stay positive.

  14. @Aubrey You're "right on the money" about judicial bias, which has been present since The Founding---[see the political machinations surrounding the orchestration of Marbury v. Madison] and in light of the present make-up of the court, your projection is probably accurate. Which serves to underscore the need for Democrats to take a pragmatic, rather than cultural/ideological approach to the nomination for president, as well as reaching out to broaden their constituency.

  15. @Sam Have you heard any progressives "take a pragmatic, rather than cultural/ideological approach to the nomination for president, as well as reaching out to broaden their constituency?" They believe they don't have to, since they are right and anyone who thinks differently is not only wrong, but evil. Alas, that doesn't win over many uncommitted voters, so 2020 is shaping up as a repeat of 2016.

  16. Ms. Greenhouse, I believe that much of what Mr. Trump, and his administration, have done is mean, but a lot of what you depict here could be better described by the word "cruel." If you consider, meanness has an element of cheapness and low-class harshness to it, while cruelty has the sense of intentionally causing harm, whether or not doing so gives you pleasure. Notably, "cruelty" was considered to be one of the traits essential for members of the SS, along with such boilerplate characteristics as loyalty.

  17. @Eric I agree "cruelty" is a more correct word. I would add a German word as well: schadenfreude It is another "essential" trait of dictators and their devoted followers.

  18. We need a reform of our Health Care System. We need a reform of our Immigration System. We need a reform of our Federal Courts. That you can shop around and look for a Federal Judge who will rule in your favor, hoping for a Nation Wide Injunction while your opponents seek to find a different Federal Judge to rule in their favor, with a Nation Wide Injunction just makes a mockery of the Law and the Judges. In terms of Immigration can anyone explain how un-documented Immigrants who accept jobs where they are paid under the table to work 70 hour weeks helps the Poor of America ? How is anyone being paid the minimum wage supposed to get a pay increase when an un-documented immigrant can take their job at any moment. How do you compete for housing when un-documented immigrants will sleep 8 to an apartment ? Why should the Poor, who already have the worst schools, have to see their children compete for an education with the children of un-documented immigrants ? Yes, it is nice for those who can pay un-documented immigrants to be their live in nannies, maids, be their hard working gardeners, to have no border controls because they will never hire Poor Americans to work those jobs. They prefer their Economic Slaves who do their bidding 24/7. I was in favor of Amnesty under Reagan, but we were told the flow of un-documented immigration would be slowed. I am in favor of letting the DACA immigrants stay and become citizens. But I am most in favor of Reform.

  19. @John Brown Reform no. 1 should be sanctioning people who hire and pay workers under the table. They are the reason for every complaint you have. I have no problem accepting people like my ancestors who had the courage and resources to leave their homes for a better life. Our strength is our diversity and openness to new ideas. Trump is killing those strengths with his cruel policies.

  20. An aspect of the Trump administrations to deny health care access to immigrants, documented or not -- and the Court's affirmation of them -- is the policy equivalent of shooting oneself in the foot. For example, We have a pandemic of novel virus COVID-19 running rampant with the potential to kill millions, running up against a policy that discourages people from seeking health care or denies them care. How smart is that? How can our health system recognize or control this new pandemic if we prevent people from seeking care? Perhaps Homeland Security can begin arresting viral pathogens with trillions of tiny handcuffs. Or maybe the policy will change when Americans start dying in droves from this this new virus given free rein to roam everywhere by our misguided health policies.

  21. Here's a different perspective. Why should the US admit immigrants who will become a financial burden on society? Yes, reliance on food stamps, Section 8 housing and other public assistance generates a financial cost to taxpayers. Wouldn't it be preferable to admit immigrants who can bring needed resources -- intellectual, talent or financial -- to the country? Why does a definition of 12 months of reliance on government assistance fail a rational basis test (the APA standard)? It most assuredly does not. The real issue here is the ability of activists to use the APA as a sword against pretty much any change in government policy by claiming the relevant agency hasn't taken their particular point of view into account enough to please them (by adopting it!). And why should our country suffer from the radical effects of nationwide injunctions issued by a district court? Find one judge who is willing to play along, and bingo, a policy change is held up nationwide. As the opinions in this case pointedly showed, nationwide injunctions like this have no place in a sound judiciary.

  22. why should they be admitted? because 2nd generation immigrants outperform native-born Americans. consider it a long term investment. look at the Russian community in NYC. every one of their grandparents received Medicaid and Section 8 housing. a substantial portion of the working age adults recieved some sort of subsidy when they arrived too. a generation later and this community has grown immensely wealthy. the federal government has long since made their money back. full disclosure - my friends and I are in this community, along with our parents who started as janitors/day laborers and now work in professional careers, our wives with their graduate degrees, and all the income tax we pay.

  23. @Stuck on a mountain I think the real issue here is that when Executive Branch policy is made solely for the purpose of harming a particular group of people, then the Judicial Branch is obligated to ensure that the inalienable and Constitutional rights of all people are protected equally.

  24. @AG America used to be great. We can get back there someday if we can change the current cruel leadership.

  25. Yes, meanness has been liberated. For too long the belief that making facts known and sharing goals would put down that danger. Remember President Obama’s meeting with the leaders in a circle? It did not work. Mitch McConnell had no intention of finding common ground. The meanness must be acknowledged. It can be gone around, but not denied.

  26. @lee113 Is it simple meanness or racial discrimination?

  27. It is no surprise that the Donald J. Trump Supreme Court rules with the administration and will continue to do so. What is sad is that the very people supporting all of his mean and even draconian policies are the same ones who, when it comes to a woman's right to chose, will widely be honored for being "pro-life." Apparently, that is pro-some lives...

  28. @Anne-Marie Hislop It is funny how the pro life crowd is silent about the gun carnage in their midst. For them, cells are more importsnt than any other form of life.

  29. I am a US citizen legally living in France. In order to keep this status I must show each year that, among other things, I have a home here and enough money to live without earning in France. I am not eligible for any social programs except the national health care system. For this I pay a quite reasonable fee - French citizens pay nothing. None of this seems unusual or unfair to me. On the other hand I am the granddaughter of immigrants from Armenia and Syria who went to the US in 1915. They were welcomed and became citizens. Their children and grandchildren are productive citizens. This is what the USA has stood for since its' inception and it's what has made the USA a great country. The USA is different from France in many ways and so it makes sense that France has its' immigration policies and the US has a different set of policies. Of course immigration must be regulated, but it should be done fairly and compassionately. Ms. Greenhouse is right that the US is becoming a mean place.

  30. As a lawyer and former political science major, my view is that immigration and citizenship are determinations made by the state as sovereign. Trump supporters seem to think it is a benefit or entitlement for them to enjoy. Nothing could be farther from the truth. It is not the state's job to protect citizens from economic competition but instead to grow the country. The so-called costs of immigrants are fabricated by those wary of new competition looking to create barriers to others and change. In my view, Trump immigration policy us harming economic growth in the US and creating welfare for whites stuck in place here. The true cost is not the immigrants, its the subsidies for citizens who get protections from competing.

  31. @PAUL NOLAN "It is not the state's job to protect citizens from economic competition but instead to grow the country." Where have you read that it is the State's job to "grow the country? I have never heard that is the job of government/ State

  32. "The government responded that the four had simply “recited” religious beliefs “for the purpose of draping religious garb over their political activity.” This is selective disbelief in the validlity of religious freedom claims, another worrisome example of the "double standard principle" now dominating the Trump administration. When Democrats use religious defenses successfully employed by Republicans, judges question their sincerity. Conversely, when Republicans claim the same freedoms, it's clearly an enshrined right. Why don't we just come out and admit it: in the case of power, be it judicial, legislative, or executive, the two parties aren't equal.

  33. @ChristineMcM -- Years ago, when a friend applauded the Hobby Lobby decision, I told her she should think again, for that decision in effect empowered the government to decide whether your religious beliefs were "sincere" or not. Now we have a fine example in the Arizona case Linda cites. Federal prosecutors claimed the defendants were simply "cloaking" their political actions in spurious religious views -- the government asserting stated personal beliefs were "insincere." Far-right religious leaders who've yoked themselves to far-right politics are playing a dangerous game. They are selling religious freedom for the imposition of their minority views on all of us. Over the long haul the wheel always turns. They better pray that when majoritarian politicians are in charge that they respect religious freedom more than do present-day evangelicals.

  34. @ChristineMcM When has religious freedom ever been a defense for commission of a crime? You can't litter just because you worship a particular god.

  35. The word "mean" at the top of this article strikes a bell for me. During the 2016 campaign I talked with a neighbor who said she was voting for Trump "because this is a mean world and we need a mean president." Trumpism depends on people who see the world as a struggle of Me versus You and Us versus Them, as opposed to people who believe we are mostly helpful and supportive of one another. What creates these different world views? Economics, education, psychology?

  36. @Julian Gerstin : Fear is what drives the current Republican worldview. They're afraid of everything.

  37. Psychology, probably flowing from genetic influences.

  38. @Julian Gerstin Maybe genetics. Maybe these are mostly people desended from the folks who thought nothing of murdering the indigenous peoples and stealing their land so that they could get rich from slave labor.

  39. Citing the actions of Mayor Sarno in Springfield MA opens a difficult situation entwined in this larger argument. Third largest city in MA, Springfield is very diverse and has major financial stresses. The city was under a fiscal control board for many years and has not fully recovered. It is really a rust-belt post-industrial city situation. So there are issues with immigrants there, and Sarno is at an extreme position. Many would disagree with him, including his city council members.

  40. Mean is the right word, one that everyone understands. We have all grown up around mean kids, but we never thought we would have a mean government. We recognize it for what it is but do the the Supreme Court justices? Do they care? These supposedly religious men, mostly Catholics, seem to go against Pope Francis who espouses love of our fellow man. Thanks for covering this aspect of our current leaders, one that needs to change.

  41. Let it not be forgotten that a Republican senator recently suggested that the Pope owes Trump an apology.

  42. @B. Moschner I have known many mean Catholics, not all certainly, but many. I have guessed this is what comes of being taught that yours is the only true religion, only you have the truth, not unlike evangelicals. This is why separation of church and state is so important. I will not argue against religious freedom, but I will argue against imposing your religious beliefs on me.

  43. Thank you for this powerful essay. By the tone of the few replies posted, you struck cords on both sides. That the constitution is at grave risk is obvious to all. The President was blatantly guilty of bribery. Even more so, he was guilty of denying the constitutional right of the congress to oversee his activities. And the senate republicans suborned this crime. In full view of Chief Justice Roberts. All present being under oath. It is not just the administration that is on trial in November. It is this Supreme Court.

  44. Because of the rise of venue shopping for federal judges and the explosive use of nationwide injunctions, I expect there will soon be a change to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 65 regarding injunctions, that limits the junior courts' ability to issue nationwide injunctions or forces an expedited review to the Justice for that circuit or the whole SCOTUS.

  45. I don't believe I am alone among NY Times readers to have identified vindictiveness and meanness as characteristics of today's Republicans. What we have learned from those who have said the unspoken part out loud (He's not hurting the ones he is supposed to be hurting) is that power alone is not the point of winning.With winning the power that comes with it is the means with which you can inflict pain and punishment on others. Republican voters have even admitted that they will happily bear financial hardship as long as they can see others suffer. Republicans seek to punish people for their circumstances. Democrats seek to help people from their circumstances. The evidence is in what they do and say. Republicans punish people for who they are or the circumstances they are in while Democrats seek to punish people for what they do. Oh sure, Republicans will pay lip service to laws and justice. But, as we've seen, the application of laws is for others while justice is reserved for themselves. Does all the above mean Democrats are perfect? No, of course not. But I wonder, hurting others, or helping others, which is closer to American ideals and the tenants by which so many worship?

  46. @Marie, inflicting pain and punishment, as long as the target is "elites," people of color, immigrants and their children, women of reproductive age, LGBTQs, and anyone using any form of public assistance --- this is sadism unleashed. It solidifies Trump's "base" voters, who literally enjoy watching Trump and his associated bullies inflicting their vindictiveness on such victims. But for those actually inflicting the pain and punishment, a group that now clearly includes the five Trump-supporting SCOTUS justices, I believe pain and punishment are the means to their end, which is administrative control, in a word, power. Meanness merely underscores their message. Their indifference to the circumstances of those who suffer indicates that meanness is not the goal but, like terrorist activity, designed to drive home a message: acquiesce to authority or become a target. No longer will they tolerate questions about the legitimacy of an administration that uses such weapons to enforce compliance. The threat of retribution alone kept Republican senators compliant in their vote to acquit Trump, and recurring displays of meanness seem to be working to keep other would-be protests silent, with the rare exceptions of a Romney vote and a Stone prosecutor's resignation. We should keep celebrating resistance as moral heroism; we should always explicitly reject the message of authoritarians.

  47. The justices are not "being played" - they are complicit. At every step they denigrate the Supreme Ct and our democracy. They take dilatory actions to appease the Trump Admin - pushing crucial court decisions until after the election because they already know they plan to issue unpopular rulings that would hurt Trump's re-election. The Sup. Ct members (at least the majority) have willingly turned themselves into pawns of Trump - our last vestige of decency and rule of law is no longer viable or active and Americans will suffer for decades from their behavior.

  48. @BMD their next move will be to combine fed and state double jeopardy to keep him out of jail. But it all will come out and they’ll say they had no idea at the time.

  49. I can predict the future. Judge Marquez' and Judge Daniels' decisions will be reversed by the Supreme Court. ANY lower court decision against the Trump Administration will be reversed by the Supreme Court. Five justices on the Supreme Court are nothing more than wholly-owned subsidiaries of the Republican National Committee. Warning to the Sanders-Warren crowd who will not vote in November if their candidate is not nominated: this will continue if you don't vote for the Democratic nominee. Supreme Court memo about nationwide injunctions: they should be prohibited when the president is a Republican. They should be used abundantly and often when the president is a Democrat

  50. "Supreme Court memo about nationwide injunctions: they should be prohibited when the president is a Republican. They should be used abundantly and often when the president is a Democrat" You need to find another country to live in, Bob. There may be one where you can get everything you want. This isn't that country.

  51. @Steve M - " There may be one where you can get everything you want." Wait, that seems to be exactly what McConnell, Trump, and the Republican Part are creating for themselves. They even say so. Right out loud. The whole point of Trump and his appointments is to get everything the want. All the time.

  52. @Bob Sanders will likely get the nomination and the moderates will elect Trump. That is if Bernie is even allowed to live until the election. It is the hatred of policies that would help the poor that has us saddled with Trump. The serfs of the DFL just can't bring themselves to elect someone who is not first approved by the oligarchs. It is the weakness and cowed nature of the people that will destroy the country, not Trump or the GOP. It's the people who are bred and educated to be always subservient to their corporate masters.

  53. Judicial activism is not good for the goose or gander, yet it is what we have. This activism has been prompted by the inaction of the congress. As both parties become beholden to their radical bases there will be more of this in the future. Has the Balkanization of America begun?

  54. You state that ‘both parties have become beholden to their radical bases,’ but that’s false equivalence and simply not true. Only one party is guilty of that: There is no ‘radical Democratic base,’ except between the ears of contemporary Republicans.

  55. @Greg Waradzin The Democrats have moved to the left. JFK and Bill Clinton would be unwelcome. Imagine, "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" seems archaic in a time of all the free stuff. The pandering to the left is amazing to watch. But then you may have a point, all the Democrats are leftists.

  56. ”Judge Daniels added: ’The rule is simply a new agency policy of exclusion in search of a justification. It is repugnant to the American dream of the opportunity for prosperity and success through hard work and upward mobility.’” This is the definition of legislating from the bench. Immigration is the purview of the executive branch, and laws of the legislative. Granting a injunction not on legal grounds, but rather on policy disagreement, is repugnant and way outside the bounds of their position. The “justification” is plain. We are a welfare state- we cannot afford unlimited open immigration of the worlds poor.

  57. @AJ : You don't seem to have any familiarity with the Administrative Procedure Act, which the judge was applying. It's a law passed by Congress that judges reviewing policy decisions of administrative agencies cannot ignore. He was not legislating from the bench.

  58. You misunderstand. Read the few sentences before that quote: the governmental opportunity, but repeatedly did not, provide grounds for the rule change. That’s the basis of the court case. The judge, far from legislating, simply ordered existing law be maintained pending resolution of the case. In so doing, he provided a modicum of stability for millions whose lives would otherwise be (and are being) upended by a rule that might never go into effect. If you really think this is about money, it’s not. Immigration isn’t expensive. But let me ask: if I could prove that to your satisfaction, would you change your mind? If you knew immigrants were a fiscal net positive on the balance sheet, would you favor immigration?

  59. @AJ The justification cannot simply be "plain", it must be clearly and specifically stated, defended with specific statements of intent, rationale in support, and proposed measures of effectiveness. Trump is notorious for trying to do these things on the cheap, believing whatever he says should be taken at face value as indisputable truth. This judge is being the opposite of an activist, demanding Trump follow procedure, and offering both guidance and another chance to get it right. To date Trump has responded to opportunities like this with abusive rhetoric and attempts to demean and discredit the judge involved. It appears he may have met his match this time. You should be relieved. Love Trump or hate him, you cannot afford to live in a world where his every perverse whim becomes policy.

  60. The present Supreme Court is the enemy of every liberal in our country. Once upon a time, long ago, many Americans awaited the rulings of SCOTUS with some curiosity because the Court's decisions were not always predictable. Today and for the near future, however, every conservative cause will win, and every liberal cause will lose. I used to believe that George W. Bush's greatest mistake was invading Iraq. But his appointments to SCOTUS (Roberts and Alito), however, have been nearly as damaging, and will be for many years to come.

  61. SCOTUS is not legitimate. All of the justices should be impeached and the court nomination process change to restore legitimacy. These judicial activists do not know their place and should be removed!

  62. One needs to assume if trump is re-elected that he will have the opportunity to nominate another one or two justices to the Supreme Court. And with a strong economy and a strong stock market it’s hard to see him not re-elected

  63. This column highlights the effect of mixing 'law' and 'equity' without judges or court-watchers distinguishing between them. Law is supposed to apply to everyone equally: you don't follow the rules to enter the country, or leave plastic trash in a National Monument, it's illegal. Equity is the relief valve when the application of law to an individual would be unjust: It is the 'I shouldn't actually get in trouble for what I did because (excuses)' argument. A law can be changed. Changing a judge's buying into someone's glib argument or following a gut feeling or helping a sympathetic party is much harder, especially when it is shifted from the individual equities of the case to nationwide application. Equity was never meant to have that scope.

  64. I guess, though, that when the law is applied to close friends of the President, that notion of equity just goes out the window. And in fact, as we are all well aware, there are two sets of laws in America: one for the wealthy and one for the rest of us

  65. @Seethegrey There are specific and obvious reasons for setting aside laws. When a policeman tails a speeder in excess of the speed limit we don't even THINK of charging the officer even when that speed reaches "Reckless Driving"! (15mph over the limit in NJ). Years ago, a driver on my right wanted to make an illegal left turn despite the signs saying "NO TURNS". She slammed into me, so I was headed for a "Jersey Barrier" sure to kill me and my family. I could have turned back into her, probably killing her and her passenger, or, what I did...make the illegal left turn (luckily, no one was coming). It never even entered the officer's mind to ticket ME because I did what I did to save my family's lives and not kill the other driver and her passenger. To paraphrase Justice Jackson, the Law is not a suicide pact and where it becomes one, it must bend, but not before, and not for convenience. And contradictions between laws MUST be resolved equitably. Over 150 people who fled the gangs and lawlessness of the Northern Triangle, and were deported back by Trump as "illegal aliens", have suffered the very deaths they feared, by the very people they feared. We rejected thousands of Jewish refugees in WWII, and most of them went to their deaths, including the 937 on the MS St. Louis. A person fleeing death is fleeing death whether by a government or by lawless gangs the government cannot stop. He/She is a refugee and deserves refugee status.

  66. The "Conservative" justices over the last 20 years, seem to take a sick pleasure in flat-out meanness. The late Scalia was known for his particular viciousness, sometimes described as "wit". I just saw him as obnoxious. Justice Thomas frequently seems to write from anger rather than law, and has, for nearly 30 years, been almost a Trumpian justice. Alito and Gorsuch, too, have that combination of coldness, elitism, and a soupçon of meanness. Gorsuch, of course, justified a company firing a truck driver for abandoning his cargo when the alternative was death by exposure. Living as an elite all his life, Gorsuch never once had to earn his living with his hands and the sweat off his back. Surprisingly, it seems Justice Kavanaugh is the most careful of the 4 in his writings so far, albeit meager. I have to grudgingly congratulate him on that and hope it becomes the norm of his tenure, rather than the Scalia "standard" of vulgar rudeness and insults of his colleagues. I expect nothing from this court, though. When the same issues that tripped up Nixon, Clinton, and even Obama come before them, I fully expect them to rule for Trump. The Roberts Court may WELL go down in history as the most dangerous since the Taney Court ruled against both Dred Scott and States' Rights (for Northern states), that made the Civil War inevitable.

  67. This is just the most recent example of the Supreme Five's fealty to the Republican agenda. The same thing happened with the Muslim ban, where the Five allowed the ban to go in effect before the case had been briefed or argued before them, an action which was contrary to the rulings of virtually every court below. They then later ignored the blatant admissions that the law was designed to discriminate based on religion and the fact that there was no evidence of terrorist attacks in the US by people from the named countries to rule that the president could do whatever he wanted, once again against well established precedent. There are other examples of the Five's granting of expedited review of Republican cases, and granting review where it is not justified, as with the gun ban case from New York, where the law now being reviewed has been withdrawn and the plaintiffs formerly admitted they had not suffered any lasting or current harm. And don't forget the order from the Five hurrying to put prisoner to death without even consulting all the Justices. And there are the cases with exactly contrary reasoning (bakers and immigrants - one entitled to enforce its religion on all of us and the other not) and which overturn established precedent, but which each achieve a Republican goal. They rule politically, to enforce the right wing agenda without respect for the law. They are not entitled to my respect, they need to be replaced.

  68. The Supreme Court will overturn Judge George Daniels’ ruling because, in effect, it says the administration must convince federal judges that policy changes are good changes before putting them into effect. The next step would be giving federal judges veto power over congressional legislation.

  69. @William Case Are you suggesting that the courts have not always exercised veto power over legislation that cannot pass constitutional muster? Nonsense!

  70. Federal judges should have, and do have the power to rule on legislative measures, and executive pronouncements that are inconsistent with the Constitution and our laws. Your use of the term “veto” is misleading at best, and a right wing dog whistle at worst. When the Texas Federal court ruled against the ACA, in effect stripping health care from millions of Americans, did you consider it “vetoing” lawfully enacted legislation?

  71. It'a agonizing to watch Linda react to the reality of Trump-world and a beholden Supreme Court. Linda has always stood for the rule of law and a Supreme Court that provided rational decisions based precedent. She now sees her life's work trashed by mean-spirited group of captive men (including four Catholics) that she can no longer reach. A summary decision kicks an untold number of legal immigrants off the path to citizenship.

  72. @sequester In law, the adjective “summary” describes a judicial process conducted without the customary legal formalities. The customary legal formalities were observed in all the judicial decisions that Linda Greenhouse describes as summary decisions.

  73. I struggle to look at "the other side" of the arguments of people with whom I (often bitterly) disagree, in order to better grasp a situation. It sometimes helps turn meanness into a more complex problem-solving matter, and might alleviate some divisiveness on my own part. But there are times when I believe that malice is the intent for certain actions, decisions, and strategies -- and that no amount of understanding is going to turn a situation around. Even the unlikely defeat of DTrump in November will reverse America's hard right turn -- his tens of millions of supporters, the rise of racism, the packing of the judiciary, the obscene wealth of the very few, the devastation of the environment, and more. This is more than ideology -- it is a lack of love, empathy, joy, integrity, humanity. I'm not hopeless -- but the Supreme Court will continue for perhaps decades to make right wing decisions that undermine freedom, individual integrity, and common human spirit. I am having a harder and harder time understanding "the other side." And my hope is definitely withering.

  74. "It is repugnant to the American dream of the opportunity for prosperity and success through hard work and upward mobility" While I agree, and don't like the decision, it makes me grimace when judges cite their desired outcomes as a basis of a decision rather than simply the law and legal process to arrive at their decision.

  75. Thank you for your wisdom, intelligence and compassion at a time when even the highest courts in the land seem to be lacking all three. My question: beyond voting and agitating, what is a citizen to do? I feel as if my country has been hijacked by those who embrace cruelty as a political strategy. McConnell won’t let my senators vote, Barr serves as Trump’s fixer, and SCOTUS is regularly substituting legal showmanship for blind justice, ignoring the need for consistency across party lines, refusing to defend the interests of all citizens equally. I’m wondering if we need a second American Revolution and trying to figure out what that means in practice. I am a pacifist, but never before have felt greater rage at those who REFUSE to allow us all to participate in our democracy. What has happened to “consent of the governed?” Those justices are condemning people to a grueling death and pretending they’re simply dealing with words on a page. I am ashamed of them. If they were my kids, I’d punish them. They are bordering on moral depravity and asking me to condone it. Enough.

  76. @Elizabeth You make your point without even having to mention Citizens United by name, which may be the most pernicious of all the anti-democratic forces you note.

  77. Civil War II. Beginning November 4th.

  78. Frankly, such a well argued and based on the facts observation from Ms. Greenhouse, an expert among experts of the Supreme Court should both shame and bring introspection to the Court. Frankly, there has not been such level of bias and ridiculousness from the Court since the nineteenth century.

  79. Linda Greenhouse casts more light on what is happening to America than anyone I can think of. It is clear that the courts are the backstop against arbitrary cruelty, given the See- no-evil stance of the Senate. I am wondering what contortions the Supreme Court will go through if it is ever faced with Trump’s vindictive banning of everyone from New York from applying for a Trusted Traveler pass.

  80. Don’t immigration laws require that legal immigrants have a U.S. citizen who will sponsor them, precisely so they do not end up requiring the use of programs like SNAP and Section 8? At least in the area where I live, there are people on a list for housing assistance vouchers.

  81. It is my guess that the justices choose to not believe that they are being played which makes me wonder about their intelligence. There is no Constitutional reason for the increased cruelty and thus, as so-called "conservatives," who are supposed to believe in a "dead" document, there would be no reason for the five justices in question to side with the president.

  82. The Supreme court under Roberts has made his body where justices can hide out as the country burns. Under the aegis of defending the constitution they allow it to crumble. the court should be an arbiter and a protector of our rule o law, but instead despite Robert's protests has become nothing but a Trump rubber stamp.

  83. We are seeing the fruit of the Republican efforts to control the courts -- the last backstop for the administration of fairness in law. The GOP has pushed abortion opposing policies for decades now and Democrats thought that was the only target. But now we see that abortion opposing legislators and judges (those who oppose the freedom to choose what happens within also have other goals. These other goals hurt those who are living and are striving for a better life. It has seemed to me for years now that the pro-life wing has never really cared about life, they only care about control. We are living the Handmaid's Tale and worse.

  84. The next item on the judicial agenda, elimination of term limits. Want a piece of my bet????

  85. Ms. Greenhouse illustrates the alarming truth of the current administration. Given Trump's suggestion of repealing birthright citizenship, are we very far from shipping "unproductive" (or non-white) citizens to remote gulags? I also noted the parenthetical comment about "Second Amendment sanctuaries" in Tennessee. Rather than work to achieve any kind of compromise, we simply turn our backs. The current president's narcissism, amplified by his propaganda networks (Fox News and Sinclair, e.g.) has ruled out negotiation. Perhaps our "experiment in democracy" really is falling apart.

  86. The Supreme Court Justices are not being played, they are just doing what they promised the rich supporters that plotted to put them on the Court. Quid Pro Quo. These guys are professional players in the high stakes political game. They know how they are expected to behave

  87. Anyone who has appeared in front of, not just Article III judges but a circuit court panel should not be greatly surprised by what Greenhouse decries. The last time I appeared in front of the Tenth Circuit, arguing for a badly needed re-examination of the malicious prosecution cause of action to encompass officer-prosecuted cases, a red-faced judge argued against the Court's own precedent to justify denying my clients' appeal. The Supreme Court flatly denied cert in a case my father appealed from the Tenth Circuit decades earlier, going so far as to change the caption of the case, with the only conceivable reason for that unheard of action being to keep the press from noticing the famous (or infamous) name in the caption. Should courts be apolitical? Of course. Are they most often than not, on the most significant calls? If wishes were horses, and horses could fly...

  88. @J Young Thanks for your efforts to find justice in a country where it is more and more denied.

  89. After Bush v. Gore, which led to the appointment of Roberts and Alito, After Gorsuch unhesitatingly accepted his appointment, thanks to the Senate's refusal to consider Merrick Garland, After consistently supporting gerrymandering and voter ID requirements and over-turning the Voting Rights Act and campaign finance restrictions--in essence, creating an electoral map that will help elect the majority's elect ideological cohort and thereby help appoint more conservative judges, Why does anyone believe in the legitimacy of the Supreme Court? It's long past time to let go of such comforting myths.

  90. @Jim Well said - don't forget the cryin' baby, handsy, drunk college boy Kavanaugh - can't wait to see his rulings!

  91. What's next for this administration? Deporting everyone on food stamps? Send 'em all back where they came from, no matter how long ago? (One does wonder what they'd do with Native Americans, but I have complete faith that Steven Miller would figure something out) I am a white, well educated, middle class woman, so I have many advantages. However, jobless during the 2001 downturn, I turned to food stamps to feed my daughter and myself. Does that mean we don't deserve to be citizens of the US? I'm of Irish and Italian descent, both groups formerly demeaned as immigrants who weren't wanted here. My grandfather and his sister ended up in an orphanage, so I guess they should have been sent back to Ireland to starve.

  92. What's next for this administration? Deporting everyone on food stamps? Send 'em all back where they came from, no matter how long ago? (One does wonder what they'd do with Native Americans, but I have complete faith that Steven Miller would figure something out) I am a white, well educated, middle class woman, so I have many advantages. However, jobless during the 2001 downturn, I turned to food stamps to feed my daughter and myself. Does that mean we don't deserve to be citizens of the US? I'm of Irish and Italian descent, both groups formerly demeaned as immigrants who weren't wanted here. My grandfather and his sister ended up in an orphanage, so I guess they should have been sent back to Ireland to starve.

  93. These so-called judges are not being played. They agree with the meanness and were nominated for precisely that characteristic. The cruelty is the point.

  94. One of several problems with the public charge rule is that it allows agents to act on their prejudices. Microsoft, for instance, which pays enough that it's employees are not remotely public charges, still has trouble getting its people through. The effect of that, incidentally, is that the people and jobs are going to Canada.

  95. @Greg I've noticed a few multinationals downstaffing global jobs in the US and UK in favor of locations in the EU. I wouldn't call it a trend yet, but let's see.

  96. 'I don’t remember such hand-wringing a few years back when anti-immigrant states found a friendly judge in South Texas to issue a nationwide injunction against President Barack Obama’s expansion of the DACA program to include parents of the “Dreamers.” The Supreme Court let that injunction stand. "Do the justices realize how they are being played?" The conservative justices on the Supreme Court are the ones doing the playing. They are the ones tailoring their rulings to party in power. Dems lose, Republicans win. Judicial activism at its worst.

  97. Ms. Greenhouse remains one of our national treasures. We thank her for continued integrity and adherence to decency and justice.

  98. @AJBF i am not very familiar with Ms Greenhouse so I cannot comment on her body of work but I was very disappointed in this article. It was Trump bashing and psychoanalysis mixed with legal review. I thought it was written by a high school student.

  99. It's ironic that we are tending steadily towards a situation of not having enough people in the job force, and simultaneously trying to keep immigrants out. This will not end well, particularly as people around the world come to realize that it's not a good idea to try to immigrate to the U.S., as we are mean and greedy society. Thank you, Mr. Trump.

  100. I don’t see what the problem is welcoming immigrants who can provide something to the economy is a benefit to to the nation, on the other hand allowing immigrants who only take removes money from the system to help US citizens it is the duty of the government to help its citizens not anyone who shows up with their hands out. American tax dollars for Americans only.

  101. @EAH A rather loopy point of view. The money that is given (lawfully) to immigrants is not eaten, it is spent. And it is spent right here in the USA. It does not remove that money from the "system".

  102. "Do the justices realize how they are being played?" More importantly, do they care? Not likely.

  103. We are not only becoming a mean country but a cruel country. The nonpartisan Center for Budget & Policy Priorities estimates, based on government information, that nearly three-quarters of adults who participate in SNAP (formerly food stamps) in a typical month worked either that month or within a year of that month of participation. What this means is that recipients are in such low-paying jobs -- like washing the dishes and sweeping the floors in your local deli -- that they can't afford food without assistance. Are we such a cruel people that we would deny food to them and their children? I'm heart sick that we want to punish legal immigrants who wish to become citizens and continue to be make productive contributions to our nation. I'm the child of immigrants who never went beyond grade school. My brothers and I have college degrees. One was a Ph.D. in science, the other a CPA who was the CFO of a major defense contractor. Don't we want more children of immigrants like us to form the backbone of the next generation?

  104. Another projection by Trump, combined with his narcissism, is his constant bleating about fairness, how there is a vast, galactic conspiracy to be unfair to him. The GOP are also doubling down on being mean to citizens, for example, to cut away at SNAP, even though many receiving it are children. So much for caring about life.

  105. @Archipelago They only care for potential life. Once you are born, you are on your own.

  106. Judge Andrew S. Hanen issued a preliminary injunction to prevent Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) from going into effect. But he refused to issue an injunction to shutdown Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals (DACA) because it was already in effect. He said ending DACA would be like trying to unscramble an egg. He said, “Here, the egg has been scrambled,” Judge Hanen wrote. “To try to put it back in the shell with only a preliminary injunction record, and perhaps at great risk to many, does not make sense nor serve the best interests of this country.” The Constitution assigns Congress authority over immigration. Both DACA and DAPA was created to override Congress. In combination with DACA, the DAPA program would have granted half of the nation’s estimated 11 million illegal immigrants immunity to deportation, all without congressional approval.

  107. Mean spirited animus and repugnant policies cannot be the basis for nationwide injunctions by a federal district judge. Article III, Section 2, Clause 1 of the Constitution limits the jurisdiction of the federal court to cases or controversies. That means adjudicating the issues between the parties before the court. Suing the United States does not confer on a district judge jurisdiction to enjoin the entire US government. The Constitution grants the power to legislate to Congress and the duty to carry out the law to the executive branch. The courts resolve legal disputes before the bench. Reaching beyond the the case is an arrogation of power by the district court. Just as the president is not above the law, the district judge is not above the constitutional limits on jurisdiction.

  108. Well, every single day the President does act as if he is above the law and the traditional ways that government operates. So there goes the argument that Federal District Judges should act in accord with the constitutional limits on the President.

  109. You’re trying to claim that district courts don’t have the right to rule on constitutional grounds. It’s been well establushed that they do have that right.

  110. We are mean, and getting meaner nationally. We will cite ideals like "the rule of law" to justify treating other humans deplorably - death and separation of vulnerable children being only two ways - even as we ignore the "rule of law" for Presidents, Senators and their cronies. I am grateful that Religious Freedom can be used to defend human rights rather than to constrict them. It will be interesting to see if States Rights will be defended by the states rights zealots when the issue is not taxation and guns, but human rights. Somehow I doubt it. As for the Court? Well, this was the whole reason that McConnell sold out the Constitution to be able to stack it. Roberts faces a very ugly reckoning in history books when his court and its legacy will be discussed. Except of course in Texas, where the book will be edited appropriately.

  111. In law, the adjective “summary” describes a judicial process conducted without the customary legal formalities. The customary legal formalities were observed in all the judicial decisions Linda Greenhouse describes as summary decisions. Judge Andrew S. Hanen actually issued a preliminary injunction to prevent Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) from going into effect. But he refused to issue an injunction to shutdown Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals (DACA) because it was already in effect. He said ending DACA would be like trying to unscramble an egg. He said, “Here, the egg has been scrambled,” Judge Hanen wrote. “To try to put it back in the shell with only a preliminary injunction record, and perhaps at great risk to many, does not make sense nor serve the best interests of this country.” The Constitution assigns Congress authority over immigration. Both DACA and DAPA was created to override Congress. In combination with DACA, the DAPA program would have granted half of the nation’s estimated 11 million illegal immigrants immunity to deportation, all without congressional approval.

  112. @William Case, does the Constitution give Congress authority over immigration? What about Trump's various executive orders regarding immigrants?

  113. All undocumented immigrants already in the States should be granted immunity from deportation and permitted to apply for permanent residency.

  114. @William Case - "Constitution assigns Congress authority over immigration.... all without congressional approval." That's a fine argument you got there. Be a real shame should President Trump usurp the authority of congress on other matters. Oh wait. He has! He has made a career out of it. From military to walls to tariffs. Oh, and funding. He was even was impeached over that one. Although the jury was, how does he say, biased. Well, as they say at the RNC, expediency is the cornerstone of the law. Or something like that.

  115. as some of the trump cases reach the building on the hill in washington, d.c, i'll be watching to see if it is the supreme court - or the supreme kangaroo court. i am very concerned about the outcome of the cases - i think trump will do whatever he can, legal or extra-legal, to stay in the oval office. he is a tyrant and dictator and the worst may be yet to come. congress couldn't save us. will the supreme court live up to its name?

  116. If we lived in a different world, politicians and the Supreme Court would take notice of a very changed world. Climate change, not only mortal threats and corruption, are driving migration. If countries would understand that violating borders will become increasingly common due to circumstances beyond any one country's control, there would be an attempt to reorder our priorities and manage the crises, with humanity. If leaders would admit the current situation is unsustainable - inequality, white supremacy, anti-semitism on the rise- we might have a chance. Immigration has become the tree people see when it is the forest that is on fire.

  117. “I don’t remember such hand-wringing a few years back . . . “ over the rise in nationwide injunctions. Could it simply be that nationwide injunctions weren’t so common a few years back? That the rapid increase in nationwide injunctions from lower courts is a part of the anti-Trump “resistance”? I realize this is an opinion piece, but maybe a little data is in order. Or is it easier to simply make an unsubstantiated assertion?

  118. @Jared . I think you have mistaken what Ms. Greenhouse said. She said that in a prior instance of "nationwide injunction" there was no Supreme Court justices deploring the usage of such a tool, and she rightly suggested that the reason for the silence of the justices was their anti-immigrant bias.

  119. There are so many fears that I have about another 4 years of a Trump administration, but the future of the Supreme Court keeps me up at night.

  120. His majesty only cares about the size of his hands. Once upon a time, the law belonged to all of us. I look forward to voting, voting for a better future. My late mother once said, "The worst thing you can do to someone is ignore them". I there.

  121. @TucsonYaqui You live in a state that is now actively legislating to remove many people from the voter rolls and to prevent others from joining. Better make sure that you are still on those rolls and that these efforts by Republicans to “choose their voters” don’t succeed.

  122. I found the cruelty described in this article extremely painful to read. Thank you, Linda Greenhouse, for exposing this very dark and punitive approach to immigrants, legal or illegal. I am a first-generation citizen on my mother's side (she and her family escaped from pogroms in the Ukraine with no papers and no money in the 1920s) and have complete sympathy with current refugees. We MUST change administrations in November not only for the welfare of refugees but also for our own moral and ethical survival.

  123. It was not that long ago we were reading that with the election of Obama we were becoming a post-racial society. That lasted the few moments until McConnell made it clear he would do anything to make him a one-term President. The pendulum has swung back to the extreme right with Trump's election and his unleashing of the forces of the darkest sides of our humanity.

  124. @mjbarr Oh please, Schumer hasn't expressed wanting Trump to be a one term President? Not everything has to do with race. If it was Hillary-Care instead of Obama-Care in 2010 there still would have been the tea party, Republicans still would have swept congress that year. Bringing up race constantly only divides us further.

  125. The comments section has devolved into a discussion about immigration and its benefits. However, as an immigrant myself I know that the "public charge" thing has always been part of the process. The government merely stated some firm guidelines about what this could mean exactly. We could take issue with its details -- 12 months, how different benefits are counted etc -- but surely it is not unreasonable to have some kind of rule about this, as most other countries have. Surely these rules can be tweaked by the next administration. What is against current law -- and against the wishes of the vast majority of Americans -- is unrestricted immigration of vast numbers of poor and uneducated people, at a time when inequality among Americans is already at one of its highest points in history. The argument that descendants of immigrants will do better than their parents and thus make the money back is beside the point -- if a similar investment was made into people already in the US living in abject poverty, their children would also do much better.

  126. @gus The argument is not about immigration per se. Everyone agrees that all thriving democracies need immigrants to continue to grow. The argument is with the apparently arbitrary change in the 1999 guidance which defined "public charge." The plaintiffs aver that the Administration has violated the Administrative Procedure Act’s core requirement of “reasoned decision making by giving no account of its reasoning in itss decision making to change the 1999 guidance.

  127. @gus ...and furthermore: "if a similar investment was made into people already in the US living in abject poverty, their children would also do much better." Do you not recognize Medicaid, SNAP, ADC, etc., all the safety net programs as being available to native born Americans? You're sliding into the trope that immigrants "take from" the truly worthy. Is that what you think?

  128. District courts imposing nationwide stays is pretty much the definition of judicial activism. It's courts acting beyond their delegated authority. If they want to impose a stay, it has to be limited to their district. Most district courts understand this, but there are a few who do not.

  129. No, it’s not “judicial activism.” It’s courts doing the job they were hired to do: Ruling on the constitutionality of legislation.

  130. District courts only have jurisdiction over their specific regional district.

  131. The institutions in this country can no longer be counted on and , in fact, have lost much of their credibility. The Justice Department is history, and The Supreme Court is likely also compromised. Nobody is coming to save our democracy. Nobody is coming to save us from an unstable occupant in the White House. Will th American people act and will we act in time?

  132. @Robin Oh Probably not.

  133. SCOTUS is hopelessly politicized. The only remedy is to elect a Democrat president who will expand the court, restoring a political balance. If the Republicans and conservative justices on the Court don't like that, they have only themselves to blame for making the Court a blatant policy arm of the Republican party.

  134. @rhall There shouldn’t be a political balance. There should only be the law and the constitution.

  135. Another great article explaining to this reader what is often too deep, too complex, and too boring to follow. I especially appreciated seeing the very non-legalese term "mean". I know what that is, it's the perfect word to clarify so much of what's going on these days.

  136. @Gene W. I would use "mean and cruel," a result of 400 years of cruelty and disenfranchisement.

  137. The meanness extends far beyond immigration. In the interest of brevity though, I can see why Greenhouse needed to limit the conversation to a single subject matter. I'm going to take the conversation in a different direction though. How does ICE know they are pouring out water and food intended for unlawful immigrants? Caching food for resupply is a common practice in long-distance backpacking. Is ICE entirely sure the water isn't a life-saving resource for a lawful US citizen? How would you know? You would need to wait by the water cache to see who picks up the bottle. I think these volunteers have a legal argument to make. ICE is endangering the lives of citizens by indiscriminately destroying resupply points without verifying the actual recipient. If I walk through a national wilderness refuge only to find ICE has dumped out my water, I'm dead. That sounds like public endangerment to me.

  138. Government is an institution of rules, not kindness or meanness. There are rules that dictate whether or not people are allowed into the country and whether or not people should be allowed to stay. Those laws should be followed. Cities and states are actively working to thwart the rule of law because they don’t agree with it. They should advocate for changing the law rather than refusing to follow it.

  139. @John Until the Tenth Amendment has been repealed, cities and states have every right (and some would say, duty) to resist the federal government when it tries to compel them to enforce Federal laws.

  140. John, You have conflated rules with laws. The crux of the decision on the Public Charge ruling was that the government had changed the rules without any justification. People who are legally in the US can find themselves barred from citizenship forever because of Steve Miller’s loathing of immigrants.

  141. @John Changing the rules mid-stream for people who have entered the country legally and complied thoroughly is mean.

  142. Since the appointment of George W. Bush to the US Presidency after the votes were never completely counted, The US Supreme Court has worked harder to support The GOP than they have to support the US Constitution. Citizens United, the dismissal of every lawsuit that has challenged Trump's power, and oversight of a sham impeachment trial are just a few of the more blatant examples. At every single opportunity, Trump has ignored or outright defied the Constitution without any check on his power from any other branch of the federal government. There is not a single example of Trump ever demonstrating fidelity to the rule of law or the US Constitution. Why would anyone expect him to respect the results of the election in November 2020? There is absolutely no precedent whatsoever for Trump ever doing the right thing, How will The Supreme Court respond when we reach that point? Would you honestly expect them to protect our nation from this lawless President? I believe that US Democracy is already dead and gone, but like the frog in a pot of water that is slowly being heated to a boil, Americans are oblivious to the death of their way of life. The Supreme Court and the GOP are fanning the flames.

  143. Following the 2016 election , I was certain that institutional norms would contain DJT and limit his destructive behaviors to superficial issues. My concern at the time was that his lack of awareness on foreign policy could trigger nuclear war with North Korea; all else was survivable. Such naivete on my part! Piece by piece the institutional safeguards have been dismantled. The last remaining bulwark was the courts and SCOTUS. As Ms. Greenhouse has chronicled throughout this administration, the piecemeal, bit-by-bit, degradation of SCOTUS has occurred without halt. It doesn’t take a nuclear war to bring this experiment to an end. Just a willingness to accept incremental evil.

  144. @Billfer I love how the left lumps immigrants and illegals as one. The ones who came here legally, put the hard work in to become actual citizens don’t even want the illegals. The fact that they care more for everyone else but their own legal American fellow citizens is appalling. We have our own homeless, hungry, and people who can’t afford medication, including insulin. Obama started this, and Trump is doing his best to undo that traitor’s policies. DACA people have had many years to apply and become full citizens. They choose not to. Illegals come because the left has promised them free everything. They vote in elections. They get driver’s licenses without testing or vetting. #AmericansFirst

  145. I hit reply to someone else. How it needed up here, I don’t know and it won’t let me delete it.

  146. @Jamie I am a full-fledged progressive liberal Democrat (voted for McGovern!!) and I fully distinguish between legal immigration, refugees fleeing war and political oppression, and economic based illegal entry into the country. The underlying issue isn't "Obama started it..." rather it is that Congress has repeatedly failed to address these issues in a rational manner through numerous administrations long before Obama. Additionally, having worked with H1B and Green Card individuals through most of my career in healthcare, a significant part of the problem and failure to resolve it stems from corporate conduct. It is in the interests of many businesses to employ illegal work forces. They cost less and don't file WC claims when injured or killed on the job. When was the last time an employer or corporate officer went to jail for employing illegal immigrants. Start serious enforcement with meaningful jail terms for employers and there will be a change in the flow of economically based illegal border crossings. Lastly, I recall an instruction, " As you have done to the least of these, you have done unto me." Those were at one time words to live by; apparently not anymore.

  147. We keep hearing about America and the rule of law. With the way the Supreme Court and the Justice Department have been acting the rule of law has become wishful thinking. Some old fashion idea that might interfere with the president getting what he wants. Chief Justice Roberts recently said there are no Obama judges or Trump judges or something to that effect. Who is he kidding, himself probably. There are no Connors or Kennedys anymore. All one needs to do is read a synopsis of an upcoming trial to know the outcome. These justices might as well just relax in bed and phone it in.

  148. It wasn't until the S/C Justices who decided the Korematsu case were long in the grave before our current Chief Justice, John Roberts, kinda, sorta called the wisdom of that appalling decision into question. Now, with the rapid dissemination and dissection of information along with what one hopes is a somewhat higher standard for judicial temperament and action (OK, maybe not), perhaps some of our current Justices will get their comeuppance before their bodies begin to molder. May the pundits, professors and reporters of the world unite to constantly call into question the decision of any Justice who so blatantly prefers the powerful over the poor and dispossessed.

  149. Just when I thought I could no longer be shocked by what's happening....heartbreaking...and and important and enlightening piece. Thank you for continuing to shine the light on this toxic maneuvering and for highlighting the projection coming from this administration.

  150. Wow! Gone are the days when Ms Greenhouse would look into the nuances of the SCotUS as it interpreted various words, phrases and prior decisions. Now, we're standing out on our front porches watching billowing and ominous storm clouds racing to engulf us!

  151. Our country is being hollowed out by the focused meanness of this administration, its foot soldiers and minions. With a second term it will accelerate faster than the climate change that is reshaping the earth as we know it. Even if the political pendulum swings back toward sanity and justice, our norms will be infinitely more difficult to restore than they were to shatter. I fear for our children and grandchildren. Right now our best hope is to get out the vote and support whichever candidate is chosen to run against this cruel president.

  152. The thesis of this article is not examining the immigration issue in its broadest sense nor is it viewing its implications for election 2020. "Sanctuary cities", "eliminating ICE" writes off at minimum 40% of the electorate. This 40% will NEVER vote Democrat on this single issue. The U.S. has a myriad of its own problems, i.e. homeless, low wages, access to housing and health and that 40% view citizens come first. In the broader picture, the U.S., its CIA, ensure a neo-colonial empire( we love our cheap coffee, bananas), which is the root cause. Immigration laws have been around for over a century for a reason.

  153. @tennvol30736 The Cavendish banana, what one commonly sees in markets, is basically doomed by a worldwide virus.

  154. @tennvol30736 The world is unfair, "Mean" in it's disproportionate allocation of natures bounty with the numbers of humans living in a given region. I didn't earn my lucky break of being born in this country, rather than a europian ghetto. The real distinction between Trump and previous Presidents (including FDR when closed borders were certain death) is that Trump is unapologetic, and revels in this being a sign of his personal courage. The meme "Eliminate ICE" only exacerbated the partisan divide.

  155. @tennvol30736 What is the reason immigration laws have been around for more than a century? Fear of the immigrant's difference. When my Irish ancestors immigrated before there were immigration laws, the good people here in the U.S. refused them employment, worried about the diseases they'd bring, judged them mentally inferior, and burned a few of their Catholic churches. After a while, as immigrants assimilate and citizens become accustomed to their differences, the fear subsides. When I was a youngster, the good people of the U.S. wisely elected one of our own, JFK, president. The lesson seems clear--be confident, don't fear.

  156. Republicans have been using projection for more than a decade, at least since the election of George Bush in 2000. Indeed, they have no rationale for their own actions other than as raw power grab, so they depend heavily on projection which has a large portion of accusation of the other in it. The power of projection lies in its ability to stop your opponent momentarily and to force them into a defensive mode. But as soon as they offer counter arguments the Republicans claim that this is “just an excuse.” Or, they never let you get a word in edgewise as Steve Bannon did on the “Bill Maher Show” the other night and they continue to tell you what YOU did and where YOU are wrong. Projection cannot be argued because it is a false front, a defense mechanism behind which the true self is protected from any pain from the Other, whatever it is: psychic or monetary or something else. So far as I can tell, only self-correction and self recognition can dismantle projection or the outright rejection of it entirely by one individual to another or by individual citizens rejecting the Party that uses it. One thing is sure: until people recognize how often it is used they can’t reject it, and one reason they don’t recognize it is because they sympathize with the underlying emotional sense that one has been attacked by the other guy. That emotional identification destroys their own self protective mechanisms.

  157. "... because I’ve been thinking for some time now that the United States has become a mean country." It is not my intention to argue against the point you are making Ms Greenhouse. I am sorry to be the one to inform you but I know this "meanness" to be true for all of my life. I am sure millions of my fellow Americans, older and younger than I, have also had this experience of America for all of their lives as well. In fact i think we would say that this mean streak is America as much as the kindness and good is if not more so. The Justices are not being played. They are fully aware of what they are doing. The GOP has captured all three branches. They intend to impose their projected reality on all of us. This is America.

  158. Isn't it a bedrock principle of just law-making that new laws and regulations are not retroactive? It appears (from the verb tenses used in the article) that the new Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds rule is exactly that - it turns actions that were innocuous at the time they were performed into actions with serious, and for some, life-wrecking consequences. Has SCOTUS swapped the principle of non-retroactivity for a trivial demonstration of its opposition to "the rise of nationwide injunctions"?

  159. "Tennessee enacted a law to cut off state money to cities that declare themselves “sanctuaries” from federal immigration enforcement." The Constitution and the Courts have always said that the federal government has exclusive jurisdiction over immigration. Here is one example. In 1994, Californians voted overwhelmingly to end non-emergency medical care, public education, and other services for illegal immigrants. Federal judge Mariana Pfaeizer declared the law unconstitutional, and stopped it from going into effect. She described the law as scheme to regulate immigration which would have infringed on the federal governments exclusive jurisdiction over immigration. Sanctuary cities also infringe on the federal government’s sole jurisdiction over immigration.

  160. @ann How do sanctuary cities infringe on the federal government's role in immigration? My understanding is sanctuary cities refuse to honor ICE detainers (which have been ruled unconstitutional in federal court) and that they prohibit local law enforcement officials from taking part in ICE activities without prior agreement and federal funding. In my view, sanctuary cities have decided to keep the feds from infringing on local law enforcement.

  161. @Thomas Dye Exactly. The federal government using the power of funding and so-called federal primacy is doing nothing more than using the force of extortion against local law enforcement. Refusing to cooperate is not an infringement on the Trump administration's right to conduct extortion on sanctuary cities.

  162. Ms. Greenhouse seems to suggest that the rule of law can have a hard bite on law breakers, and can seem mean because of that. That is not a commitment to the rule of law, but a commitment to mercy or something else that is not fully articulated. As to nationwide injunctions issued by lower courts, that is a recipe for anarchy, and an invitation to unbridled judicial activism. This piece is an interesting window in on the partisan distinctions in the law and culture.

  163. At the rate Donald Trump is appointing Federal Judges, soon meanness will be the law of the land rather than simply the mindset of the president.

  164. If you haven't seen it, Judge Easterbrook's opinion in Baez-Sanchez v. Barr is both disturbing (for its description of the administration behavior) and at least potentially reassuring (for those who believe we still have a country in which the democratic experiment consists of adopting laws and applying them fairly).

  165. I lost all respect for the Supreme Court with Bush v. Gore, a decision so bad that it cannot be cited as precedent. You know, if a Democrat wants to use it. So, Bush became President and he and Cheney and Rumsfeld lied us into the Iraq War. I blame the Supreme Court for that war and all of its fall out. Decisions have consequences that go beyond the simple facts of the case.

  166. After Citizen's United I ceased to have any respect for the Supreme Court. Trump is the culmination of that gross injustice towards the majority of this country. Are they under the delussion their progeny will be isolated from the damage they constantly create with their abject loyalty in protecting Trump? Releasing his tax returns rather than prolonging the decision possibly until June is testament to who is reflected in their mirrors. Not the hideously disfigured Dorian Gray but the equally hideous vision of Donald Trump. Those judges are one and the same with Trump only they sold their souls to promote the Federalist Society, Trump never had one.

  167. @rhdelp I lost respect in Bush v. Gore. What I wonder is whether what we are seeing is the last gasp of a narrow, clutching, racist minority, or the flowering of a fascist state, as per Donald Duck's statement that he wants to emulate China's no-term-limit Leader. The Courts in a fascist state are servants, not judicial thinkers. The fact that the five conservatives are sincerely conservative and not merely trying to do whatever Trump wants from them hardly matters.

  168. @rhdelp IRS bad actors are working diligently to clean up the tax returns before release.

  169. I applaud this truth-to-power statement of fact. There is no denying that the dark elements we saw accelerating after Trump's escalator ride down and rallies leading up to his election have clearly rubbed off on so many in all three branches of government, the public at large and certain parts of the press. We are witnesses to the deterioration of our nation. We can rely on Ms. Greenhouse to shine the light with eloquence.

  170. @Mitch Remember Trump thinks he came down on an elevator. no matter he confuses everything and is admired for it by his adoring followers. His misuse of language, his confusion over history ,his lack of understanding, his simple outlook, his anger are all things they can relate to. He is their kind of guy! Uneducated as Trump says.

  171. Linda Greenhouse is our most cogent and critical chronicler of the grievous descent of the SCOTUS into partisanship, hypocrisy, and subservience. Thank you, Ms. Greenhouse, for fulfilling that sad duty.

  172. Ms. Greenhouse, thank you for speaking truth to mean and cruel power

  173. Trump's behavior towards both immigrants and the people of Puerto Rico has been beyond disgraceful. America is not a European ethno-state, but without promoting his misguided belief that it is and his affinity for organized crime, he would never have been anywhere near a successful run for the White House. Trump's larger plan seems to be to limit immigration by eroding the rule of law, public morality and government competence to the point that no one who is not from here would want to come here in the first place.

  174. @Alan Soon, no one will want to come here.

  175. Wonderful column and insights, as usual! Speaking of psychological projections, I’ve always thought the notion of “Trump Derangement Syndrome” falls squarely within that category—used by formerly sane conservatives/Republicans whose minds and morals have been obliterated by Trump, thus becoming unhinged worshippers in the cult of Trump.

  176. "Donald Trump, seeing himself the innocent victim of attacks from vicious and mean people" Maybe he is just mis-identifying those who harmed him originally : his own parents. He cannot now afford to identify them to himself.

  177. There are many fables and tales of morality that were read to us as children and we grew up to read. Some come from long ago others from our books of worship. They define what is good and what we should avoid as decent people. I often wonder if mean kids, or those who grew to be mean, like Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Mitch McConnell, William Barr, Betsy DeVos, Sean Hannity, Steven Miller, Devin Nunes, Kevin McCarthy, Rush Limbaugh, Mick Mulvaney, or Mike Pompeo were ever read to or ever read these lessons themselves and if they did, they just laugh at them saying "Suckers!"? With the holiday season just passed, I wonder, while the rest of us were watching and reading "A Christmas Carol", a lesson of caring and redemption, did Republicans read "A Christmas Nightmare", where a good and decent businessman is corrupted beyond measure by caring? Did we see "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas" as a lesson in the meaning of the spirit of love and goodness while FOX played "The Grinch Who Owns Christmas" as a lesson in maintaining a strong commerce based society or risk losing it all to sentimentalism? Did you watch "It's a Wonderful Life" as a tale of how basic goodness, sacrifice, and decency are rewarded or "It's an Unfair Life" as the tragic tale of the terrible treatment of poor Mr. Potter who not only deserved his wealth but was thwarted in his rightful place of controlling the lives and circumstances of others?

  178. "Do the justices realize how they are being played? I started this column by mentioning psychological projection, a distorted view of others engendered by a distorted view of oneself. That’s Donald Trump, seeing himself the innocent victim of attacks from vicious and mean people. There’s another kind of projection, the image reflected when light strikes a mirror. Who do these five justices see when they look in their mental mirrors? Could it be Donald Trump?" _____________ Being played? The MAGA base is being played. Red flag of immigration waived in the bull's face, enraging the beast. But, like the matador, the Duck is using the beast for other purposes. The 5 on the SC are in on the game.

  179. More evidence of the long term, possibly irreversible, damage that the Trump administration has done to the liberal democratic traditions and practices that Americans used to honor and respect. Apparently, the only solution is to dismiss Trump, his family and his Congressional sycophants, through the ballot box. I wonder if we have the guts, the intelligence, and the means to do so.

  180. Your beliefs in this column are rejected by millions of Americans and is the reason why Trump will win in 2020, and many more cities and states will become “gun” sanctuaries. DACA will probably succeed, but DAPA was and is dead on arrival.

  181. @Pvbeachbum Trump lost by 3 million votes. It's only the bizarre electoral college that got him elected.

  182. It's unfair to label the Trump administration or the Supreme Court "mean." If you are rich, white, and male, their policies and rulings could not be nicer.

  183. Yes, Trump has hurt weaker people his entire life. He enjoys it. And yes, projection of his mean, shriveled soul onto the Supreme Court and much of our society should not surprise. Interesting though that the “Five” all profess as Catholics. Guess they missed the Saint Francis part of the curriculum.

  184. "Do the justices realize how they are being played?" Oh, Ms. Greenhouse, that's just naive. The meannest justices themselves are key PLAYERS in this national wave. That is exactly WHY they were installed in the first place. As for this particular kind of meanness, Fat Donny is simply playing a more vicious version of a very old game: Keep a certain kind of white persons, large in number, riled up against people who are not white, in order to distract them from the fact that it's rich white people, in corporations and government, who have rigged the system, sent their jobs overseas, destroyed their blue-collar towns, polluted their air and water, refused to provide a living wage, subjected them to the predations of the medical industry, and . . . oh, but why go on? And, of course, to prevent said white people from noticing that they have a lot more in common with people of other colors (whether recent immigrants or not) than they do with the true sources of their plundering. This thing has happened, is happening now, in various countries around the world. Just change the name of the ethnic group being "blamed." And supreme courts like ours provide--eagerly--an official fig leaf for it.

  185. The Right wing will never be happy. It's their business model. They will always be a mean strike against anyone or group who is actually is happy, in the face of gross bigotry or inequality. You keep power by scaring and blaming people. Then getting them to pay for it. There will never be a day that Fox and it's viewers are truly happy. They don't want be either, they just like being angry. It makes them feel alive. There always will be some reason or person which to project their self haltered onto and they charge money for it so hence no matter what, we will always have anger at other humans for not being the right kind of human. Wonderful isn't it.

  186. Linda Greenhouse is a national treasure. If only the justices of the Supreme Court wrote with such simplicity and clarity. One point, however, strikes me in observing the continuing descent of the Court. President Trump is rightly criticized for his awful appointments, born as they are of his characteristic pandering to the ill-assorted biases of his "base". But let's spare a thought for the otherwise sainted President George H.W. Bush, of Andover and Yale, who gave us Clarence Thomas, whose knee-jerk assent to every one of those biases has blighted the Court and the country for these many years. The "meanness" that Ms. Greenhouse detects began its lurking perversion in one of the most cynical nominations of the pre-Trump era.

  187. It was 1980 when a classmate told me to expect GHWB to use his connections to replace Reagan as president, with the goal of appointing three Supreme Court justices. "Those appointments are for life, and that way he can leave his mark for the next generation, when one of his sons might be eligible." She said Congress can't be counted on to do the unpopular things needed to keep some of us rich and the rest not, but the CIA could get the party started quickly and hand Congress the bill. "Congress will never debate a war when there are already boots on the ground." She was off by one. Reagan left us Scalia.

  188. This is another marvelous column by Linda Greenhouse, and it comes at a time when Chief Justice John Roberts and his four conservative colleagues at the Supreme Court have descended into a fetid morass of cruelty and abject subservience to President Donald Trump. Apparently, these right-wing jurists on the nation’s highest court care very little about shaming themselves, as they scurry around to satisfy the mean-spirited impulses of the deranged Commander-in-Chief. It is not an exaggeration to say that in approving a Trump war on legal immigrants who will be deported on a whim for briefly receiving public assistance, a majority of our Supreme Court have the blood of innocents on their hands. Things are even worse for the undocumented men, women and children who die unnecessarily under the hot sun of our western deserts, simply because Donald Trump wants them to die. Those deaths are invisible from the lofty bench of the Roberts Court.

  189. "Do the justices realize how they are being played?" I think that they do. I have noticed in some recent cases that some of the justices "play dumb" -- that is they act like they don't understand what is going on or what is actually behind a case. But anyone who has the intelligence to get to the Supreme Court can't be as dumb as they sometimes let on. There is a big streak of meanness in this country. By "meanness" I mean trying to make life tough on some people just to make life tough on some people. I hate to say that meanness is particularly prevalent in some parts of the South and West and has been for about 200 years. It has often played a big part in politics. There are many people around here who hate the dark-skinned and poor and would like to put as many road blocks in their way was possible. Many immigrants are a "twofer" that is, they both dark-skinned and poor. Thanks to Ms. Greenhouse for here column which I always enjoy. She has found out that the Supreme Court is not the great institution fighting for justice, fairness, and the American Way that she thought it was. Turns out that about half the justices are shills for The Donald.

  190. @Aubrey My "favourite" example is the shrugging acceptance that poor people are that way because they just don't want success and won't work for it. As someone who has had to do the lecturer/adjunct professor circuit for a stretch, I can definitely understand that being poor is not a choice or a result of laziness. Being poor is often just the result of being offered a stacked deck. Race and demographics, and zip code are the principal determinants of success in America, not work ethic.

  191. The Supreme Court's conservative justices are NOT being played. They are players in their own right. Keeping America white and patriarchal has always been part of this era's conservative project.

  192. One can reasonably claim many things, but to claim that the SCOTUS majority is being “played” is not one of them. They know exactly what they are doing and why they are doing it. As a group, they hold the view that what the United States needs is to be a country controlled by a white, male, financial and religious elite. All benefits should accrue to them. All other “citizens” should get just enough to avoid a popular revolt. To the extent possible, all those not part of the elite should be stripped of their rights (such as the right to vote, the right to representation) through voter intimidation and gerrymandering executed with ruthless precision. They hate the idea of a democratic republic. They are now in a position to institutionalize the racial, paternalistic plutocracy that they all were raised in. In other words, they are going to “Make America Great Again”. Played? Please.

  193. Are you familiar with Trump v. Hawaii? I would assume you are. So perhaps you remember Justice Thomas' concurring opinion where he stated: "District courts, including the one here, have begun imposing universal injunctions without considering their authority to grant such sweeping relief. These injunctions are beginning to take a toll on the federal court system— preventing legal questions from percolating through the federal courts, encouraging forum shopping, and making every case a national emergency for the courts and for the Executive Branch. I am skeptical that district courts have the authority to enter universal injunctions. These injunctions did not emerge until a century and a half after the founding. And they appear to be inconsistent with longstanding limits on equitable relief and the power of Article III courts. If their popularity continues, this Court must address their legality." Perhaps Judge Daniels should have considered this before issuing a nationwide injunction.

  194. I looked into going back to my ancestral homeland of Ireland and found out that for Americans and Canadians to retire there you have to have proof of an income of at least $130,000 for life! Not kidding. They don't want a bunch of poor old people being a burden on society in their final days. Yet the most recent African refugee who steps foot in Italy is entitled to immediately go and live in Ireland. Where's the fairness there? The cab drivers in Waterford are almost all from Ghana. So the concept of limiting immigration to avoid "public charges" is not new or unusual. Just try and retire in Ireland or England and you'll see how difficult it is to do so. Trump is on the right track here and this move makes a lot of sense.

  195. the right track for who?

  196. You could build a desk from the law review articles that delineate the reasons why nationwide injunctions are unhelpful to the Rule of Law. They emanate sour-smelling hubris. Yes, it's easy to cheer for the such injunctions in "your favor" but they are an Instagram-like cancer on the judiciary and place the executive branch and judicial branch prematurely at odds.

  197. Thank you for bringing up these important issues at a time when all eyes are on the election and post impeachment.

  198. Many Americans enjoy patting themselves on the back for their kindness and generosity. They revere George Washington for his cherry tree story, ignoring that the General owned slaves and that, when Quakers tried to liberate one of his slaves, Washington complained. Clearly, he saw himself as the victim. The Fugitive Slave Act was passed to stop liberals from helping escaped slaves. When we dip into history, we see again and again laws and enforcement that belie any felicitous interpretation of our common motives. Laws against drug possession are used selectively by police forces, often against minorities of whom the police disapprove. In the Central Park Five case, people who claimed to be good and Christian are on record as saying that innocent kids should have been put to death. The judgment against the people responsible for kicking over water cans should be manslaughter: Never again should such a person be allowed to hold a job in our Federal government. Then again, so many of their supervisors, right up to the one in the Oval, should also be disqualified for spitefulness and emotional instability rivaling that of Travis Bickle. A core of white Americans who would have approved of the Fugitive Slave Act and now applaud draconian measures aimed at the oppressed claim that they are the real Americans. It's possible that they are right, that every charitable impulse that has become law has been aberrant, and will now be cured by returning America to its 1850 greatness.

  199. A great article, and Ms. Greenhouse hits right at the moral corruption that has infected our nation. We are no longer a kind and generous people. We are selfish and mean, resentful and vindictive. As much as we hate to acknowledge it, Trump really does represent well the values and character of so many Americans today. His greater than 40% approval rating cannot be dismissed as a fluke.

  200. We haven’t seen this before in other countries, to which we felt superior? No, we are drowning in meanness from the Supreme Court to the lowest judiciary bench. When trump gave his nod of approval to white supremacists, who would have thought justices were included. The robe isn’t immunity from racism, misogyny or any other flaw we are capable of. Barr is the definitive example.

  201. The immigration policies of Trump and the practice of Stephen Miller represent a politics (after 1933) “… that dare not speak it’s name” (misappropriating Oscar Wilde). Editors won’t allow it and journalist dare not make comparisons but until people call out what is really happening, it will get worse--moving rapidly to the predictable cataclysmic conclusion. The moves--and outcomes--affecting a large number of people (without the proper papers) are too synonymous to things that have already happened in the past; and the excuse that “… we didn’t see it coming…” won’t past historic judgement. You need to call things for what they are.

  202. @Peter P. Bernard Adding the Russian radio broadcasts on the US airwaves mentioned in another article today clearly illustrate "the plan" that Trump and Putin have for all of us. The time for revolution is near, and I am heartsick.

  203. Whenever I read thoughtful and compassionate columns like Greeenhouse's, I feel two two conflicting emotions: 1) Hope that sanity, compassion, and respect for the Rule of Law have not been totally destroyed by the Republicans, and that they will be resurrected sometime within my remaining lifetime. 2) Despair, anger, and fear that #1 will never come to be. Lately, #2 has been winning.

  204. I am so tired of hearing about illegal immigrants. I am sorry that they are not happy I their country of origin. How is there plight my responsibility? Why does my nation have to accept every person with a sad story because some citizens think it is mean to do otherwise? I think the Democrats are crazy for their pro-illegal immigrations stances. I cannot support them. The people who want to help illegal immigrants should go to the countries where these people are fleeing and help them there. No more immigration. This issue is destroying the country- the left has got to compromise or Trump will be reelected.

  205. @Willt26 Lacking the ability to put oneself in another's shoes leads to so much of this inability to find a middle ground in the immigration debate. The truth is we are not really talking about accepting EVERY person with a sad story. We are talking about accepting some of them who are able to ask for help. Regardless if you think we should accept any of them is it just to separate babies and children from their families to prove a point? Secondly, thinking democrats are crazy is completely different than whether or not they are actually crazy. A difference of opinion does not make one crazy. Thirdly, this issue IS destroying the country, but in my view its the conservatives who are conducting this scorched earth approach, unwilling to compromise. Trumps re-election may or may not be predicated on any of this. Its our collective inability to reason and thereby make compromises and agreements, that has us at odds. somehow a small minority of us has gained enough leverage as to prevent this from happening.

  206. @Willt26 Lacking the ability to put oneself in another's shoes leads to so much of this inability to find a middle ground in the immigration debate. The truth is we are not really talking about accepting EVERY person with a sad story. We are talking about accepting some of them who are able to ask for help. Regardless if you think we should accept any of them is it just to separate babies and children from their families to prove a point? Secondly, thinking democrats are crazy is completely different than whether or not they are actually crazy. A difference of opinion does not make one crazy. Thirdly, this issue IS destroying the country, but in my view its the conservatives who are conducting this scorched earth approach, unwilling to compromise. Trumps re-election may or may not be predicated on any of this. Its our collective inability to reason and thereby make compromises and agreements, that has us at odds. somehow a small minority of us has gained enough leverage as to prevent this from happening.

  207. @Willt26 Unless you're a Native American...your ancestors went through the same battles to get here. The fact that you got here first (without a government barring your way) does not give you some higher claim of being an American. You're not "more American" than a refugee or illegal immigrant who is desperate to become an American. We're the melting pot. Unfortunately you haven't taken time to actually notice this. We're all connected whether you like it or not.

  208. "The mayor of Springfield, Mass., one of the biggest cities in one of the bluest states, has taken the president up on his offer to let local officials veto the resettlement of refugees in their communities." That's because, according to Wikipedia, Hispanics and Latinos of any race made up 38.8% of the population - of which 33.2% - or a third of the city, are Puerto Rican. By comparison, 22.3% are Black or African American. Might I point out that Blacks were originally brought here against their will? We owe them far more. We don't need more people in America. But if anyone thinks that we do, then immigrants should enter on a merit basis as we need their skills to supplement our workforce. The is not a racist argument or part of a white supremacist agenda, in fact, it is race-neutral. As for Puerto Rico, the United States should pay off its debt and declare it an independent nation. That's what it should have been from the very beginning. Puerto Rican pride should demand no less.

  209. @Chevy: yes, we do need more people in this country. Have you looked at our birth rate lately? Well below replacement. The only reason we aren’t already in the “elder” dominated position of Japan, Russia, China or most European countries is b/c of immigration. No one has yet figured out how to have a strong prosperous economy w/o population growth & w/o immigration we would have a shrinking population. Those immigrants, legal & illegal, are saving this country from itself. The Court & administration are perpetrating immeasurable harm, not only on the immigrants but on this country.

  210. @Cat Az, I appreciate your thoughts and, although I rarely answer a reply, I must strenuously disagree on two bases. First, there are plenty of people in the world who would love to be American citizens and have waited patiently in line and followed the rules. Those who haven't should be sent back to their native countries and get back in line. They should not 'Go' past our porous borders or collect $200. What is wrong with shrinking the population of the United States and every other country with a large population? Are we agoraphobic, afraid of (preserving) open spaces? I noted 50 years ago that the American lifestyle was unsustainable, especially when everyone in the world wanted the same. Our air is polluted, the highways clogged, our schools overflowing. It's time we stopped encouraging everyone to expect the Amazon delivery truck with their order overnight . China did the world a great service with its "one-child" policy. It's time for other countries to follow suit. Less is more.

  211. One thing that would be helpful is if we stopped referring to the opposing ideologies as "progressive vs. conservative." What we are witnessing is more accurately described as "progressive vs. regressive." Progressive is to move forward. Conservative is to conserve, to maintain. Regressive is to move backwards. That's the direction this Republican Supreme Court is heading, and make no mistake this is an unabashedly Republican court determined to implement every regressive policy the Trump administration can come up with. The Roberts court era will go down in history as a shameful aberration second only to the Trump presidency. And it will only get worse if Trump is re-elected and Justice Ginsburg cannot or will not serve out his second term, as William Barr continues apace with his audition for her seat.

  212. The new public charge rule is fascinating, in a morbid way. In theory, if we were a country with strong labor rights, good wages/benefits, and affordable housing, the rule wouldn't affect many immigrants. The social safety net would really just be for those in dire straits. Instead, the rule provides a snapshot of just how hostile America is to the working class right now, because we can see that it will be effective. Corporations and conservatives made sure of it. It's like an autoimmune disease that leaves the body unable to deal with the common cold.

  213. These five Supreme Court Justices are not being "played". They are projecting their own beliefs on the rest of us, despite any law. They are in the position to toss any law they do not like, out. Or making bad decisions, like Citizens United, Voting Rights and who has the right to buy a wedding cake from a baker. to mention just a few There is no justification needed. They are the Law after all.

  214. Thank you for this. I’ve also been thinking a lot about how "mean" the US is. No one can dispute that "something toxic has been let loose" under the Trump regime, and that things have gotten worse for many millions of people both in the US and around the world since Trump rose to power. But we must acknowledge, first, that the Trump Administration is merely the logical conclusion and inevitable manifestation of a neoliberal ideology championed by Democrats and Republicans alike over the past four decades -- because an ideology which promotes unfettered capitalism and, thus, the creation an oligarchy, can, in the end, only lead to the kind of tyranny we see on the rise from Hungary to India to Turkey to the UK to the Philippines and beyond. And, second, that the “meanness” we are seeing now pales in comparison to the cruelty and depravity of the Atlantic slave trade; pales in comparison to the cruelty and depravity of the imperialists settler-colonialists of earlier centuries in their behavior toward the indigenous peoples; pales in comparison to the cruelty and depravity of the global human trafficking industry on which our consumer-capitalist society is based; pales in comparison to the cruelty and depravity of modern industrial animal agriculture, which enslaves, tortures, and murders billions of sentient beings no less able to suffer than you or I every year….

  215. @Daniel Normally I would point out the glaring differences when an equivalency like yours here is drawn about neoliberal ideology. But in this all Americans are complict. Check out Farad Manjoo's article yesterday about for a perfect example. Everyone participates willingly or not in this unfettered capitalism, certainly anyone with a 401k or portfolio. It is the national religion.