‘Unprecedented emergency’: Dem-led cities and states brace for influx of migrants

“Title 42, an immigration policy put into place during the pandemic, was scheduled to be lifted Wednesday, but Chief Justice John Roberts temporarily blocked the border rule at the urging of 19 Republican-led states, which appealed the plan to open up the nation’s borders again.

The stay by Roberts is temporary, and states are bracing for what’s next if — and when — Title 42 is eventually lifted. There’s added anxiety too over whether Republican governors will transport thousands of migrants to Democratic-led strongholds by bus or plane, as Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis did this year.

Over the last month, thousands of migrants have crossed into the U.S. at the Texas border ahead of the expiration of Title 42, a Trump administration pandemic policy that allows the U.S. to expel migrants in order to stem the spread of the Covid-19 virus. Last weekend, the mayor of El Paso declared a state of emergency to help manage the rush of people while Abbott deployed hundreds of Texas national guard and state troopers along the border to block migrants from entering the U.S.”

“The migrant issue hasn’t gone unnoticed in Congress. Special funding in the federal spending bill released this week could take the pressure off of cities like New York, Chicago and Washington, as they try to handle the rise in immigrants and the challenges to provide shelter, food and other basic needs. Cities could apply for a piece of the $800 million that Congress has carved out to handle the flow of migrants if the spending is approved.

Adams, who earlier this week asked for $1 billion to help New York handle “the brunt of this crisis,” said he was “encouraged” by the federal funding, but said that should just be the start.

“With over 800 people arriving in the past four days alone, it’s clear that we still need a comprehensive strategy at our border and additional resources. We cannot be put in a position where we have to choose between services for New Yorkers and supporting arriving asylum seekers,” he said in a statement. Adams has also called for asylum seekers to be authorized to work before six months.”

9 States Have Banned Affirmative Action. Here’s What That Looks Like.

“Black enrollment fell rapidly at the top schools in the University of California system. Before the ban, Black students made up 7% of the student body at UCLA. By 1998, that figure had slipped to 3.93%. By the fall of 2006, the freshman class included only 96 Black students out of nearly 5,000.
In an effort to address that gap, officials in California have spent more than $500 million in outreach to underserved minority students since 2004, lawyers for the state said in a Supreme Court brief this year.

A similar decline took place at the University of Michigan. Black undergraduate enrollment dropped to 4% in 2021 from 7% in 2006, the year the state approved a referendum banning affirmative action.

Even though a Supreme Court ruling restricting the use of race-conscious admissions is unlikely to affect their states, lawyers for Michigan and California filed briefs with the court over the summer arguing that without affirmative action, achieving racial diversity was virtually impossible.

Florida, which banned affirmative action in 2001 and where admission to the state’s flagship university is also competitive, has taken the opposite position: Racial diversity can be achieved without race-conscious admissions, it said.

A study in 2012 by liberal-leaning research group the Century Foundation found that in most states where affirmative action was prohibited, Hispanic and Black enrollment at flagship universities bounced back after an initial drop.

But the study also showed that those increases did not generally keep pace with the growing number of Hispanic and Black high school graduates.”

Courts Split on Whether the Feds Can Overturn These State Abortion Bans

“”Federal law is clear: patients have the right to stabilizing hospital emergency room care no matter where they live,” said Department of Health and Human Services (DHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra. “Women should not have to be near death to get care.”
In July, HHS issued new guidance stating that EMTALA’s provision for stabilizing treatment includes a right to an abortion in some circumstances. “If a state law prohibits abortion and does not include an exception for the health or life of the pregnant person—or draws the exception more narrowly than EMTALA’s emergency medical condition definition—that state law is preempted,” the agency said.

No existing abortion ban lacks an exception for a mother’s life, but some do omit exceptions for women’s health. And determining whether something counts as a life-threatening emergency—as opposed to a mere health-threatening emergency—isn’t so clear-cut. Many pregnancy complications could become life-threatening while not being necessarily or immediately so. The HHS guidance attempts to provide clarity, stating that regardless of what a state law says, physicians must provide an abortion if one is necessary to address an emergency medical condition (including, but not limited to, ectopic pregnancy or severely high blood pressure).

Texas sued over the HHS directive. Joined by the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG) and the Christian Medical and Dental Association (CMDA), the state sought to have the HHS “abortion mandate” declared “unlawful, unconstitutional and unenforceable” and for the court to issue a preliminary injunction on its enforcement.”

Republicans turn on each other amid post-Roe chaos

“Republican state officials have been waiting decades for the chance to ban abortion.

Now that they can, red state lawmakers are mired in partisan infighting and struggling to agree on how far to go. The most fervently anti-abortion lawmakers are accusing their colleagues of capitulating on rape and incest exceptions, while those calling for compromise or moderation believe more strident Republicans are ignoring political realities.”

The Forgotten Constitutional Weapon Against Voter Restrictions

“perhaps a largely forgotten provision of the Constitution offers a solution to safeguard American democracy. Created amid some of the country’s most violent clashes over voting rights, Section 2 of the 14th Amendment provides a harsh penalty for any state where the right to vote is denied “or in any way abridged.”

A state that crosses the line would lose a percentage of its seats in the House of Representatives in proportion to how many voters it disenfranchises. If a state abridges voting rights for, say, 10 percent of its eligible voters, that state would lose 10 percent of its representatives — and with fewer House seats, it would get fewer votes in the Electoral College, too.”

What It Would Mean For Elections If The Supreme Court Embraces An Extreme Legal Theory

“Do state courts have the power to interpret their own state constitutions? The Supreme Court could be poised to say “no” — at least when it comes to redistricting and election law.

Last week, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case Moore v. Harper in the coming fall term. In that case, Republican legislators in North Carolina are asking the court to overturn the state Supreme Court’s decision to throw out their gerrymandered congressional map and impose one of the court’s own.

Their argument rests on an extreme reading of the elections clause of the U.S. Constitution that posits that only state legislatures and Congress have the authority to decide how federal elections are run. Under this school of thought, known as the “independent state legislature” theory, state courts would no longer be able to intervene — even when a legislature violated the state’s constitution, as was found to be the case in North Carolina.

The independent state legislature theory is fewer than 25 years old, and for most of its life, it’s been relegated to the fringes of academia. But it was widely promoted by former President Donald Trump and his allies as they attempted to first undermine — and then overturn — the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. And several Supreme Court justices have already suggested that they’re on board with the theory. During litigation over election laws in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin in 2020, Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch endorsed some version of the idea that state legislatures should have nearly unfettered power over how federal elections are run, and earlier this year, they said in an emergency-docket ruling that they would have ruled in favor of the North Carolina legislature.

If the Supreme Court sides with North Carolina Republicans in this case, it would have massive implications for election law. Depending on how the court rules, state courts might no longer be allowed to strike down legislatures’ proposed congressional maps for being gerrymandered. And if this happens, the way American elections are conducted would change in dramatic and destabilizing ways.”

“An extreme embrace of the theory by the Supreme Court would hand legislatures power over every aspect of how federal elections are run, to the exclusion of not only state courts but also possibly other state actors like governors and election administrators. “It would be a voter suppressor’s fever dream,” Wolf said.”

“the impact wouldn’t stop at redistricting. The Constitution’s elections clause also covers every aspect of how federal elections are run. That includes the 56 voting restrictions passed since the 2020 election — laws that require ID in order to vote, discourage absentee voting, move up voter deadlines, cut early voting, purge voters from the rolls and ban giving food and water to voters waiting in line.”

“Similarly, courts would not be able to unilaterally change federal election laws in an emergency, like the Pennsylvania Supreme Court did in 2020 when it extended the deadline for absentee ballots to be received amid widespread delays in postal service. “If the state legislature says, ‘Polls close at 7 p.m.,’ and on Election Day, there’s a hurricane and the [state] Supreme Court says, ‘Keep them open until 10,’ the legislature wins,” Vladeck said.”

“Some Trump allies have also argued that the independent state legislature theory empowers legislatures to appoint an alternate set of state electors — which, in 2020, could have overturned the presidential election. However, Leah Litman, a law professor at the University of Michigan, said that it’s important to remember that even the independent state legislature theory doesn’t mean state legislatures would be completely unchecked, because the U.S. Constitution would still apply. But she added that part of what alarms her about the theory is that it’s so unclear what embracing it would actually do. “It’s just kind of a mess,” she said of the theory. “We really don’t know what it would look like.””