The Supreme Court kicked off its new year Monday by rejecting President Obama’s attempt to revive his deportation amnesty, leaving stand a June ruling that left a nationwide injunction in place and leaves the big immigration questions up to voters in November.
Without comment, the justices refused Mr. Obama’s request for a rehearing of the case, on which the justices had deadlocked 4-4.
Immigrant rights groups howled in protest, and said they’ll try to rally voters to punish Donald Trump, the GOP’s presidential nominee, and to back Democrats who they hope will ensure a more liberal bench is in place before the issue returns to the high court.
But for now, Mr. Obama’s plans to grant three-year work permits and stays of deportation to as many as 5 million illegal immigrants remain blocked.
“The Obama administration’s unprecedented attempt to rewrite federal immigration law failed yet again today,” said Carrie Severino, chief counsel at the Judicial Crisis Network. “It’s fitting that the Texas immigration case, which typifies this administration’s relentless overreach, met its end in a wordless denial by the Supreme Court.”
For the second time, and without comment, the U.S. Supreme Court has rejected President Obama’s tactic of granting amnesty to millions of illegal aliens through administrative actions.
The high court on Monday declined to revisit the dispute, as the White House had wanted.
Fox News reported the case might still return to the Supreme Court at a later date but almost certainly not while Obama is president.
The issue has been percolating throughout Obama’s tenure in the White House. He repeatedly stated he alone didn’t have the authority to change America’s immigration laws to allow amnesty for millions of illegals and tried to pressure Congress to take action.
When the lawmakers refused to do what he wanted, he had administration officials re-interpret existing law to allow as many as 5 million illegal aliens to remain in the country.
But his plan was shot down by a federal judge in Texas, whose decision in a case brought by 26 states, led by Texas, was upheld by an appeals court. The Supreme Court earlier this year voted 4-4 on the case, leaving the lower court precedent standing.
Now the court has declined to revisit the fight.
The district judge’s ruling found the Constitution doesn’t give the president that authority.
When he was speaker of the House, Rep. John Boehner listed 22 times when Obama made statements that he is not allowed to do what he did.
For example, in October 2010, Obama said: “I am president, I am not king. I can’t do these things just by myself. … I’ve got to have some partners to do it. … If Congress has laws on the books that says that people who are here who are not documented have to be deported, then I can exercise some flexibility in terms of where we deploy our resources, to focus on people who are really causing problems as opposed to families who are just trying to work and support themselves. But there’s a limit to the discretion that I can show because I am obliged to execute the law. … I can’t just make the laws up by myself.”
But in 2014, the administration announced an immigration-law change that would “shield more than four million people from deportation,” NBC News said.
Texas sued and was joined by more than two dozen other states, citing the massive new demands for public services such as school and health care that would be imposed by those who previously had been subject to deportation.
“In seeking rehearing – a [chance] to argue the same case over again – the Justice Department said the move ‘is consistent with historical practice and reflects the need for prompt and definitive resolution of this important case,’” NBC said.
The 4-4 tie was set up by the death earlier this year of Justice Antonin Scalia. A tie at the high court means the lower court ruling is left standing.
It was Obama’s Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents program that was derailed. It was set up to let certain categories of illegal aliens stay in America.
The Obama administration announced the program as a series of administrative orders in November 2014. It said the actions were necessary because Congress refused to make the changes in law that he wanted.
The lawsuit was filed to halt the plan, and shortly after, a federal district judge in Texas and a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit ruled in favor of the states.
But the Obama administration fought back, claiming the states don’t have standing to sue the federal government over immigration policy.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans had ruled 2-1 to uphold a lower court’s injunction blocking the White House from going forward with its deferred-action plan and to make the injunction permanent.
“The president must follow the rule of law, just like everybody else,” argued Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who was leading up the coalition of 26 states suing the Obama administration.
He went on, the Washington Post reported: “Throughout this process, the Obama administration has aggressively disregarded the constitutional limits on executive power.”
While the case was pending at the lower courts, 113 members of Congress said in a court brief Obama’s amnesty program violates the Constitution.
“Our position is clear – President Obama’s executive action is unconstitutional and impermissibly disrupts the separation of powers,” said Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice, which filed on behalf of Congress.
WND broke the story when a federal judge in Texas granted a temporary injunction halting Obama’s executive-order driven amnesty program.
The ruling from U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen ordered the government not to proceed with any portion of the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents.
“The United States of America, its departments, agencies, officers, agents and employees and Jeh Johnson, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security; R. Gil Kerlikowske, commissioner of United States customs and Border Protection; Ronald D. Vitiello, deputy chief of United States Border Patrol, United States Customs and Border Protection; Thomas S. Winkowski, acting director of United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement; and Leon Rodriguez, director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services are hereby enjoined from implementing any and all aspects or phases of the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents,” the ruling said.
The dispute elevated to the astonishing when, in his Texas courtroom, the judge bluntly asked a Justice Department attorney whether or not President Obama and federal officials can be believed regarding the administration’s executive action on immigration.
“I can trust what Secretary [Jeh] Johnson says … what President Obama says?” Hanen asked, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Fox News reported the judge even went further, instructing Justice Department attorney Kathleen Hartnett, “That’s a yes or no question.”
She responded, “Yes, your honor.”
Hanen called for the hearing because of questions about whether the Justice Department misled the judge by claiming that deportation reprieves would not go forward before he made a ruling. It turned out that federal officials had delayed deportation for 108,000 people for three years and granted them work permits.
The administration had argued the reprieves were granted under a 2012 program that was not impacted by Hanen’s order. But the 2012 program, called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, granted only two-year reprieves, while Obama’s November 2014 order allows three-year deferrals.
Hartnett told the judge “government attorneys hadn’t properly explained this because they had been focused on other parts of the proposed action,” Fox reported.
Hanen remained skeptical, and it was then he asked, “Can I trust what the president says?”
He later told the lawyers representing the government to go to ethics classes.