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Source and Scope of Public Health Legal Powers

Department of Homeland Security v. New York


Department of Homeland Security v. New York (U.S. Supreme Court, Jan. 27, 2020): The U.S. Supreme Court stayed the nationwide injunction issued by a NY federal district court (covered in JTPH January 2020) preventing enforcement of the final public charge rule. The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) final public charge rule allows the federal government to deny green cards to individuals found likely to become a “public charge.” A public charge is an individual who is likely to receive certain designated “public benefits,” including SNAP and most forms of Medicaid, for 12 months in the aggregate within a three year period. New York, Connecticut, and Vermont had requested a nationwide preliminary injunction to block enforcement of the final rule. The Supreme Court, however, granted DHS’s request to stay the district court’s injunction pending appeal. Justice Gorsuch concurred with the order and denounced the practice of lower courts issuing nationwide injunctions because “they direct how the defendant must act toward persons who are not parties to the case.” DHS can now enforce the final public charge rule as the case proceeds. A separate statewide injunction issued by a federal district court in Illinois, blocking enforcement of the rule in Illinois, remains in effect. Read the Supreme Court order here.

View all cases in the Judicial Trends in Public Health – February 18, 2020.

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