Goldberg Kohn and the Cook County State's Attorney's Office have once again prevailed in the long-running public charge rule litigation, when on Jan. 9, 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court turned down an effort from Texas and other state officials to breathe new life into a Trump-era policy on who counts as a "public charge" for immigration purposes.
Goldberg Kohn attorneys David E. Morrison and Steven A. Levy have represented Cook County, Illinois, alongside Cook County State’s Attorney Jessica Scheller for more than three years in Cook County's successful challenge to the Trump era's public charge rule. The "public charge" rule had directed U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to deny green cards to immigrants who had used certain public benefits. Cook County originally obtained a preliminary injunction in September 2019, enjoining the Trump administration from enforcing its public charge rule in Illinois. The decision was affirmed on appeal by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
In November 2020, Cook County obtained a summary judgment decision in its favor, which vacated the public charge rule on a nationwide basis. The appeal from that decision was pending before the U.S. Supreme Court when, on March 9, 2021, the Biden Administration dropped appeals pending in the Supreme Court and before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. The Department of Homeland Security immediately stopped enforcing the public charge rule on March 9, 2021.
Texas and 13 other states subsequently sought to intervene in the Supreme Court; after being turned away there, in the Northern District of Illinois. The 14 states argued that the Biden administration prevented enforcement of the Trump public charge rule and did not follow the Administrative Procedure Act in dropping the rule.
The states' motion to intervene was submitted to the district court in May 2021. The district court denied their request to interject themselves into the Cook County lawsuit, finding the motion to be untimely. The states appealed this decision, and the Seventh Circuit rejected the request as well, affirming the district court’s order after hearing oral arguments in April 2022. On January 9, 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the 14 states' petition for certiorari challenging the Seventh Circuit's decision.
David Morrison and Steve Levy's co-counsel representing the Illinois Coalition for Refugee Rights include attorneys from Sidley Austin LLP, the National Housing Law Project, the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law and the Legal Council for Health Justice.