For many years, Kennedy was an unpredictablly squishy swing vote on the nation’s highest court. But now in the wake of his retirement, it looks like John Roberts may be eager to claim the spot.

Chief Justice Roberts joined the liberal wing of the court to block a Trump immigration policy.

Daily Caller reports

The vote was five to four. Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court’s liberal bloc to deny the government’s application, after a federal judge in California barred enforcement of the revised asylum rules.

Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh noted their dissent. As is typical of orders of this nature, there was no opinion.

President Donald Trump and the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security issued the restrictions as migrant caravans coalesced near the U.S. border with Mexico. In effect, the rules provide that illegal aliens are ineligible for asylum protections.

Federal law provides that any foreign national who “arrives in the United States, whether or not at a designated port of arrival,” may apply for asylum. Congress adopted this rule pursuant to federal treaty obligations under the 1967 United Nations Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees.

As such, critics charge that the new restrictions are directly contrary to federal statutes and international treaties to which the U.S. is party.

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