The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a pending appeal over the ending of the Title 42 public health order, having already canceled oral arguments as the Biden administration moved to end all COVID-19 restrictions.
“The December 16, 2022 order of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit denying petitioners’ motion to intervene is vacated, and the case is remanded to that court with instructions to dismiss the motion as moot,” the court said.
The Title 42 public health order was a COVID-era policy that allowed for the rapid expulsion of migrants at the southern border. It was initiated by the Trump administration and continued by the Biden administration. Over two million migrants were expelled under the order.
There were record numbers of encounters in the days leading up to the order, with 10,000 encounters a day last week. But numbers have dropped sharply since then, with administration officials saying this week that numbers are now at around 4,000 encounters a day.
Administration officials warned, however, that conclusions should not be drawn about what would happen in the weeks ahead.
In the Supreme Court’s ruling, Justice Neil Gorsuch called the back-and-forth over Title 42 “head-spinning” and said that on Thursday the court was putting “a final twist on the tale.”
He then recounted the loss of freedom during the COVID years, including lockdown orders, shuttering of businesses and schools, the closing of churches, increased surveillance and other heavy-handed requirements.
“Doubtless, many lessons can be learned from this chapter in our history, and hopefully serious efforts will be made to study it. One lesson might be this: Fear and the desire for safety are powerful forces,” he said.
“But if emergency decrees promise to solve some problems, they threaten to generate others. And rule by indefinite emergency edict risks leaving all of us with a shell of a democracy and civil liberties just as hollow,” he said.