On January 8, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on five district court nominees, including Cory Wilson, who has been nominated to the US District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi. Wilson’s lack of judicial temperament is astounding; he frequently takes to Twitter to repeat partisan rhetoric. A former Mississippi legislator, Wilson’s extensive writings and voting record reflect his extreme policy and political positions, including his disdain for the Affordable Care Act, reproductive rights in general, marriage equality, and beyond. NCJW strongly opposes Wilson’s nomination.
- Take action! Click here to tell your senators to oppose Cory Wilson.
SCOTUS asked to uphold ACA
On January 3, a coalition of Democratic-led states asked the Supreme Court to review the Fifth Circuit’s recent decision declaring the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) individual mandate unconstitutional. The coalition — led by California Attorney General Xavier Beccera — requested expedited review of the case during the 2019-2020 term, citing the uncertainty caused by the Fifth Circuit’s decision to send the case back to a lower court to consider the legality of the rest of the landmark health care legislation. The Justices have asked the states challenging the ACA to respond to this request by 4:00 pm on Friday, January 10. Notably, the Supreme Court can and does review important cases on an expedited basis and did so just last year for the census case. NCJW was proud to play a role in the enactment of the ACA and will continue to defend the law, a critical source of health care coverage for America’s historically underserved communities including individuals and families living in poverty, people of color, women, immigrants, LGBTQI individuals, individuals with disabilities, seniors, and individuals with limited English proficiency.
Funds released for border wall
In December, a federal judge issued an injunction preventing the Trump administration from using $3.6 billion in military construction funds to build a wall on the southern border. Then on January 8, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals lifted the injunction, giving the administration access to the money. NCJW strongly opposes President Trump’s attempts to go around Congress, which has the constitutional power to appropriate money, to fund his vanity project.
Immigration and Refugees
US threatens to deport Mexican asylum seekers to Guatemala
This week, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) confirmed that Mexican asylum seekers would be sent to Guatemala as a part of the “safe third country” agreement the US signed with Guatemala in July. After an outcry from advocates, as well as the Mexican and Guatemalan governments, the administration then announced it would “pause” that plan for the time being. Instead, Mexican asylum seekers are being placed into the Humanitarian Asylum Review Process, which, despite its name, is essentially a fast-track deportation program. NCJW will stay on top of this emergent policy, yet another attack on our nation’s asylum system.
TPS for Yemen extended
At the end of December, the administration extended, but did not re-designate, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Yemen for eighteen months. TPS allows immigrants from countries facing war or natural disaster to live and work legally in the United States. Re-designating TPS would allow the more than 3,000 Yemenis who arrived after the most recent TPS cutoff date to qualify for protection. NCJW joined other organizations to urge the administration to both extend and re-designate TPS for Yemen.
- On January 2, NCJW joined more than 100 organizations on a letter to the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, and Office of Management and Budget requesting an extension of the 30-day comment period for a recently issued proposed rule expanding the bars to asylum eligibility.
- On January 7, NCJW joined 28 other advocacy organizations on a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Lindsey Graham (R-SC) calling on them to cease processing President Trump’s nominees for lifetime positions in the federal judiciary while the impeachment process is ongoing.
- NCJW joined organizations on an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief in Saget v. Trump, a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s decision to terminate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians.
- NCJW joined religious and civil liberties organizations on an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief in DeOtte v. Azar, a case Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals challenging a trial court ruling preventing enforcement of the Affordable Care Act against employers who object to the existing contraceptive mandate accommodation process and requiring the federal government to allow contraception-coverage-free insurance policies for any employees who want them.