Politics

Supreme Court Signals Bad News For Trump On DACA

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Kevin Daley Supreme Court correspondent
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The Supreme Court appears poised to reject the Justice Department’s request to overturn a lower court order requiring the continued administration of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program.

The high court’s Friday afternoon orders list showed no action on the petition, a strong indication it will be denied.

Scheduling constraints require the court to act quickly if they intend to hear the case before adjourning this summer. The Supreme Court sits from early October to late June, and the schedule for a given term is generally set by January. If the justices planned to add a case to their docket at this late juncture, they would do so quickly.

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The court may yet grant the request, but the odds decrease with time. A denial would not seriously hinder President Donald Trump’s long-term plans to wind down the program.

Judge William Alsup of the federal trial court in San Francisco, Calif., found that the Trump administration’s termination of DACA was based on a flawed legal premise, rendering the decision “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, [and] otherwise not in accordance with law.”

The order does not require the administration to process new applicants for the program.

In an extraordinary procedural move, the government appealed directly to the Supreme Court. Under normal procedure, the government would challenge Alsup’s order at the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, a principle antagonist to Trump’s ambitions throughout his presidency. Solicitor General Noel Francisco, the government’s Supreme Court lawyer, argued the case required the tribunal’s urgent attention, as Alsup’s decision “requires the government to sanction indefinitely an ongoing violation of federal law being committed by nearly 700,000 aliens.”

If the justices turn down the government’s request, the Justice Department will revert to ordinary procedure and appeal to the 9th Circuit. If the 9th Circuit upholds Alsup’s ruling, the government can then return to the Supreme Court.

The University of California system brought the suit challenging DACA’s termination. The system is led by Janet Napolitano, the former secretary of Homeland Security who presided over DACA’s original promulgation during former President Barack Obama’s administration.

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