Monday, January 25, 2016

U.S. SUPREME COURT - Obama's Immigration Executive Action

"Fate of Obama’s immigration actions goes to Supreme Court" PBS NewsHour 1/19/2016


SUMMARY:  The Supreme Court will consider whether President Obama overstepped his authority by deferring deportation and securing work rights for 4 million undocumented immigrants, an action opposed by 26 states.  Marcia Coyle of The National Law Journal offers background, while Judy Woodruff gets views from the Immigration Law Center’s Marielena Hincapie and Josh Blackman of the South Texas College of Law.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  It’s official, the Supreme Court will hear a case this term that could decide the fate of one of President Obama’s major immigration moves.  It would defer deportation for more than four million undocumented immigrants and permit them to work legally in the U.S.

Lower courts have sided with the 26 states that sued the federal government over the program, and those courts have put the program on ice for now.

But the White House said today the administration is confident the high court will rule in its favor.

JOSH EARNEST, White House Press Secretary:  The kinds of executive actions that the president took a little over a year ago now to try to bring some much-needed reforms and greater accountability to our broken immigration system were clearly consistent with the precedent that was established by other Presidents, and clearly within the confines of his authority as President of the United States.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  But that is the issue that 26 states dispute.  Texas is one of those states, and its attorney general, Ken Paxton, said today in a statement — quote — “There are limits to the President’s authority, and those limits enacted by Congress were exceeded when the President unilaterally sought to grant lawful presence to more than four million unauthorized aliens who are in this country unlawfully.”

For more on the case, we turn to our regular, Marcia Coyle of “The National Law Journal.”

And, Marcia, welcome.

MARCIA COYLE, The National Law Journal:  Judy, thank you.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  So, some background first.  This order the President made has been challenged almost from the very beginning, hasn’t it?


The executive action came in November of 2014.  Less than a month later, 26 Republican-led states challenged it in federal district court.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  And what was the basis?

MARCIA COYLE:  The states are making a number of claims here.  One, they claim that the action violates the take care clause of the federal Constitution.  That’s in Article 2, Section 3 of the Constitution.  And it says the President must enforce — I’m sorry — must faithfully enforce the laws.

They also claim that his action is arbitrary and capricious, his action violates the notice and public comment requirement of the Administrative Procedure Act.  That’s a law that governs how agencies go about making rules and regulations.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  Well, we know the justices don’t ever, I guess, give a reason for taking up a case, but why is it thought that they’re doing this?

MARCIA COYLE:  Well, I think it was understood that they probably would take this case.  You have a federal court, a federal appellate court blocking a major federal government program.

The top lawyer for the administration in the Supreme Court, the Solicitor General of the United States, went to the Supreme Court after the injunction was issued and said, please take this case and resolve these legal questions.

And I think it was a given that the court would step into it.

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