The order supporting the Trump administration was handed down as Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. was presiding over President Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate. He was joined by conservative Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr., Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh in lifting the injunction.
All four of the court’s liberal justices — Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan — noted their disagreement. Neither side explained its reasoning, which is not uncommon in such emergency motions.
The decision echoed past orders in which the court’s conservatives allowed implementation of administration objectives — restricting transgender service members, for instance, or shifting Defense Department funds to build a border wall — while legal challenges continued.
“This decision allows the Government to implement regulations effectuating longstanding Federal law that newcomers to this country must be financially self-sufficient and not a ‘public charge’ on our country and its citizens,” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement.
The rules establish new criteria for who can be considered dependent on the U.S. government for benefits — “public charges,” in the words of the law — and thus ineligible for green cards and a path to U.S. citizenship. They were proposed to start in October but were delayed by the lower-court decisions.