If you want a good example of why it will be very important who gets to appoint future Supreme Court nominees, here it is: an equally divided Supreme Court couldn’t come to agreement on Obama’s executive actions on immigration, thus upholding a lower court injunction.
As reported in the Boston Globe, the Supreme Court failed to reach agreement Thursday on whether President Obama has authority to spare millions of unauthorized immigrants from deportation, handing the president a defeat on an important issue.
The opinion was contained in a single sentence: “The judgment is affirmed by an equally divided Court.’’
In effect, the tie upholds a Texas judge’s injunction against Obama’s decision in February 2015 to spare roughly 4 million illegal immigrants from deportation. Most are the parents of US citizens or green card holders, according to the Migration Policy Institute.
In November 2014, the president created a program called Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, which would have allowed parents of US citizens or green card holders to apply for three-year work permits. Obama has said that his executive actions on immigration stemmed from his frustration with the Republican-led Congress’ refusal to consider a path to citizenship for immigrants here illegally.
He also lifted the age cap on a similar program he created in 2012 for immigrants who arrived here as children, called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.
But soon after the president’s executive actions, Texas and 25 other states filed a lawsuit saying the program created an unfair burden on them. Before any immigrants could apply,US District Judge Andrew Hanen in Texas issued an injunction in February 2015 stopping the programs. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld his decision in November 2015. The US government appealed to the Supreme Court, but before the nine justices could hear oral arguments in April, Justice Antonin Scalia unexpectedly died.