As people in Texas and across the country wait to see if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns federal abortion protections, there are also a handful of other pending opinions from the high court with Texas implications, from immigration to gun control.
There are 13 decisions still to go in cases that were argued this term, with announcements expected by the end of June. Steve Vladeck, the Charles Alan Wright Chair in Federal Courts at the University of Texas School of Law, shed some insight on the remaining cases with Texas ties:
‘Remain in Mexico’ policy: Biden v. Texas
The “Remain in Mexico” policy, officially titled Migrant Protection Protocols, requires immigrants seeking asylum to stay in Mexico while they wait for an immigration judge to consider their application.
“This is a really complicated administrative law case. Basically, the heart of the issue is whether the Biden administration dotted the I’s and crossed the T’s when it rescinded this deeply controversial Trump-era program,” Vladeck said. “And a federal district judge here in Texas said no and basically required the Biden administration to keep on pursuing this policy – a pretty radical assertion of judicial power.
“What’s interesting about this case is there is a decision that flew under the radar a couple of weeks ago, a case called Garland v. Gonzalez. But actually, it may have foretold what the court’s about to do in the Remain in Mexico case. In this little noticed technical opinion, the court held that the federal courts in general lack the power to hear these kinds of lawsuits where anyone other than an affected immigrant, him or herself, is challenging immigration policies on this kind of basis.
“So it’s possible that the ultimate decision we get in Biden v. Texas is going to be a dodge, where the court actually doesn’t rule one way or the other on the merits of the rescission of remain in Mexico, just as the federal courts couldn’t hear Texas’ lawsuit. That would be a short-term win for President Biden. But going forward, it would make it a lot harder for anyone to challenge immigration policies with which they disagreed.”
Gun control: New York Rifle Association v. Bruen
The court, in its biggest gun control case since 2008, will consider whether states that require licenses to carry in public are violating the Second Amendment, Vladeck said.
“Texas obviously is not going to be directly affected by that ruling, because we already allow public carry,” he said. “But I think the key is that what the court says about what the Second Amendment does and does not prohibit is going to be used by folks here in Texas to justify perhaps even more permissive gun rules and gun regulations, notwithstanding the continuing fallout from the Uvalde issue.”
School vouchers: Carson v. Makin
And in a decision handed down by the high court Tuesday, it handed school choice advocates a major victory by ruling that a Maine tuition assistance program must cover religious schools in a case that could have implications for the push for school vouchers in Texas.
In a 6-3 vote in the case Carson v. Makin, “the conservatives, led by Chief Justice Roberts, held that Maine, once it chose to fund nonsectarian private schools, couldn’t exclude religious schools without violating the free exercise clause of the Constitution,” Vladeck said.
“And I think that has enormous implications for any state that provides any kind of tuition assistance or voucher program for private schools, because it basically says if you’re going to open your pocketbooks as a state to those kinds of programs, you can’t exclude religious schools.”