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Home News 5-4 Showdown: Supreme Court Hands Biden Texas Border Barrier Victory

5-4 Showdown: Supreme Court Hands Biden Texas Border Barrier Victory

5-4 Showdown: Supreme Court Hands Biden Texas Border Barrier Victory

( – In the ongoing dispute between the Biden administration’s open border policies and Texas’s efforts to secure the border, a divided Supreme Court issued a stay on Monday that permits Biden administration agents to open Texas’s border barrier.

Two justices nominated by Republicans joined the Democrats in voting five to four in favor of the temporary stay, which was granted while the lower court’s case is still pending.

On December 19, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit granted Texas an injunction. In a court letter that Judge Kyle Duncan wrote outlining the issue:

“The number of Border Patrol encounters with migrants illegally entering the country has swelled from a comparatively paltry 458,000 in 2020 to 1.7 million in 2021 and 2.4 million in 2022. Unsurprisingly, the situation has been exploited by drug cartels, who have made an incredibly lucrative enterprise out of trafficking human beings and illegal drugs like fentanyl, which is frequently encountered in vast quantities at the border.”

The panel’s ruling went on as follows:

“In 2021, Texas launched Operation Lone Star to aid the Border Patrol through allocation of state resources. The activity in question here is Texas’s laying of concertina wire along several sections of the riverfront. The c-wire serves as a deterrent—an effective one at that, causing illegal crossings to drop precipitously. By all accounts, Border Patrol is grateful for the assistance of Texas law enforcement, and the evidence shows the parties work cooperatively across the state, including in El Paso and the Rio Grande Valley.”

Although Texas had made great strides, the court clarified that there was one issue:

“By September 2023, Texas had installed over 29 miles of c-wire in [the Eagle Pass] area. Both the Border Patrol and Texas agree that the c-wire must be cut in the event of an emergency, such as the threat of a migrant’s drowning or suffering heat exhaustion. The problem arises when Border Patrol agents cut the wire without prior notification to Texas for reasons other than emergencies.”

Texas filed a lawsuit to prevent the federal agents from severing the border wire, alleging that the agents had violated the Administrative Procedure Act (A.P.A.) and committed a tort known as “trespass to chattels.”

The U.S. Department of Justice (D.O.J.), led by Attorney General Merrick Garland, requested dismissing the case.

As Duncan pointed out, “Unless Congress expressly consents by waiving sovereign immunity, the federal government and its agencies are immune from suits, even by states.”

However, the New Orleans-based appeals court denied the D.O.J.’s claim of immunity, which reasoned that “Section 702’s plain terms waive sovereign immunity for any suit seeking nonmonetary relief in federal court” under the applicable portion of the A.P.A.

The D.O.J.’s other arguments were likewise rejected by the Fifth Circuit. The first was that Texas could only file tort claims against the federal government under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA).

The panel denied the D.O.J.’s claim of intergovernmental immunity because Texas did not intend to control border controls directly or treat the federal government differently than other parties.

The D.O.J. argued that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (D.H.S.) has the right to do so under 8 U.S.C. §§ 1103(a)(3) and 1357(a)(3), neither of which are covered by that immunity. As a result, the court rejected the D.O.J.’s claim of jurisdictional immunity.

The majority of the trial court’s justifications in favor of Texas were also accepted by the appellate court, including:

The district court found that the Border Patrol exceeded its authority by cutting Texas’s c-wire fence for purposes other than a medical emergency, inspection, or detention. Moreover, the public interest supports clear protections for property rights from government intrusion and control.”

Biden’s top attorney at the Supreme Court, U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar, filed an application with the court for a stay of that injunction.

This effectively puts the lower court ruling on hold while appeals are pending. Many were surprised when the court decided to award it by a vote of five to four.

The judges who voted against the stay were Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh.

This indicates that in addition to the three liberal justices, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Amy Coney Barrett collaborated to grant the stay.

Copyright 2024.


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