A divided Court affirmed a nation-wide injunction on President Barack Obama’s 2014 deferred-action policy on Thursday, an executive order which grant work permits and legal status to millions of illegal immigrants.
Justices Ginsberg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan voted with the administration, while Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Kennedy, Thomas, and Alito voted against it.
After the order, 26 states, led by Texas, and the House of Representatives challenged the edict, arguing that the president lacks the statutory and constitutional authority to issue such an order. U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen issued an injunction suspending the program pending its review. The government challenged the injunction, but the Fifth Circuit upheld Hanen’s order.
The 4-4 ruling from the Supreme Court upheld the injunction. Hanen will now decide whether (or how) to move forward with a trial judging the merits of the case. He has not scheduled hearings for the case until August, at which time the Court will discuss ethics charges brought against Department of Justice lawyers in the case, and a court order release, under seal, details of benefits provided to over 100,000 illegal immigrants under the program. (RELATED: DOJ Defies Federal Judge To Protect White House’s Amnesty)
The government may petition for a rehearing of the case given the tie. Though there has been no indication as yet that an appeal is coming, President Obama expressed disappointment with the Supreme Court and Congressional Republicans from the podium of the White House briefing room.
“Today’s decision is frustrating to those who seek to grow our economy and bring a rationality to our immigration system, and to allow people to come out of the shadows,” he said, before admonishing Congress for blocking hearings and a vote for Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland.
Congressional Republicans heaped praise on the decision.
“Today’s decision in United States v. Texas is not just a victory for Texas, Alabama, and a majority of the States in this great nation who challenged the lawless actions of the Obama Administration, but a victory for the American people and for the rule of law,” said Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions, a strong opponent of the 2014 order.
The High Court did not issue opinions in the case. A terse, per curiam opinion was released announcing the judgement of the Fifth Circuit was affirmed.
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