The U.S. Department of Justice asked the U.S. Supreme Court to rehear U.S. v. Texas late Monday, a challenge to President Obama deferred action program for illegal immigrants which the Supreme Court blocked in a 4-4 vote last month.
“Ordinarily, it is exceedingly rare for this Court to grant rehearing,” the petition reads. “But when this Court has granted plenary review and then affirmed by vote of an equally divided Court because of a vacancy rather than a disqualification, the Court has not infrequently granted rehearing before a full bench.”
In the event the Court deadlocks in a particular case because of a vacancy, the parties involved in the litigation may petition the justices for a rehearing. Attorney General Loretta Lynch indicated in late June that DOJ was seriously considering asking the high court to take up the case again after a ninth justice was installed. (DOJ Scrambling To Preserve Amnesty After SCOTUS Defeat)
“We will be reviewing the case and seeing what, if anything else, we need to do in court,” Lynch said in a wide ranging interview with Reuters.
The president’s program grants work permits and legal status to four million illegal immigrants.
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 split at the Supreme Court affirmed the Fifth Circuit’s ruling and remanded the case back to Hanen’s courtroom for further proceedings.
If the Court agrees to rehear the case, arguments would not take place until a ninth justice is installed on the bench to succeed the late Justice Antonin Scalia. It is unclear when a new justice will be confirmed.
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