“Confirmed Judges, Confirmed Fears” is a blog series documenting the harmful impact of President Trump’s judges on Americans’ rights and liberties. Cases in the series can be found by issue and by judge at this link.
In May 2020, Trump Ninth Circuit judge Daniel Collins dissented in Roman v. Wolf, in which the majority upheld the portion of a preliminary injunction that forced an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center to comply with Center for Disease Control (CDC) COVID-19 guidelines to prevent the spread of the virus.
Kelvin Hernandez Roman is a Salvadoran immigrant detained at Adelanto ICE Processing Center in California. He and others detained there alleged that they were at undue risk of contracting COVID-19 because masks were not consistently provided and due to overcrowding, it was impossible to practice social distancing.
Roman and other detainees at the center filed suit in district court against the warden and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). They asserted that keeping them in detention under such poor conditions was a violation of their due process rights under the Fifth Amendment. The district court issued a preliminary injunction requiring that the center not only follow CDC guidelines, but also cease to accept detainees and reduce the center’s population by releasing or transferring designated detainees.
The warden and DHS appealed to the Ninth Circuit for an emergency stay of the district court’s injunction. In a 2-1 decision, the majority stayed the portions of the district court’s injunction that went beyond what was required under the CDC’s guidelines for correctional and detention facilities for managing COVID-19.
Judge Daniel Collins disagreed, explaining that the stay should have been issued for the district court’s entire preliminary injunction because the CDC guidelines allow for adaptations based on a facility’s “physical space, staffing, population, operations, and other resources and conditions.”