Posted on September 23, 2020

Amy Coney Barrett’s Immigration Rulings

Preston Huennekens,, September 23, 2020

President Donald Trump announced that he intended to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court following the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on September 18. {snip} CNNBloomberg, and other media outlets quickly identified Amy Coney Barrett of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals as the favorite to fill the seat.


Barrett has two recent opinions regarding the issue of immigration. She authored the dissenting opinion in the case Cook County v. Wolf in June 2020. The 7th Circuit’s decision temporarily barred the Trump Administration from imposing new rules that would exclude potential immigrants from green cards if they were likely to require public assistance. Barrett’s dissenting opinion supported the Trump Administration’s action and argued that Cook County, Illinois’ definition of public charge was too narrow and was not supported by law. The 2nd Circuit Court subsequently lifted that ban in September 2020.

Before that, Barrett wrote the majority opinion in the 2019 case Yafai v. PompeoBarrett ruled that the wife of a U.S. citizen could not challenge the denial of her visa application by a consular officer, who suspected the wife of child smuggling.

Barrett’s time on the appellate court has been short, and subsequently does not have a long record of immigration decisions. That said, her two rulings indicate that she supports the legality of President Trump’s public charge ruling and the independence of consular officers to reject immigration petitions without obtrusive review from activists. {snip}