The Supreme Court declined today to order a rehearing in the most important immigration case before it in the last term. The Supreme Court had issued a 4-4 non-decision in United States v. Texas, the case challenging President Obama’s 2014 executive action expanding DACA and creating DAPA. The tie vote left in place a lower court decision blocking implementation of the president’s plan.
The tie came about because of the Senate’s unwillingness to even hold hearings on President Obama’s nominee. This leaves the court divided without a tie-breaking vote. As the court begins its new term, it appears to be unwilling to take up controversial cases which are likely to end in split decisions.
This does not mean the United States v. Texas will never be heard again by the Supreme Court. The original hearing in the Supreme Court involved a preliminary decision by the lower court. When a final decision is made, the case will again be ripe to be heard again in the Supreme Court.
What today’s development does mean is that the case will not be decided in 2017. Hence, at least for the next 15 months, DACA+ and DAPA are both on hold.
Kica Matos, spokesperson of the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM), said:
“We are frustrated, angry and deeply disappointed with the court’s behavior in deciding not to rehear the case regarding President Obama’s executive actions to extend DACA and implement DAPA. The court’s decision means that as many as five million immigrants in the U.S. remain in constant fear of being separated from their families at any time, and possibly deported.”