U.S. Supreme Court

Supreme Court splits 4-4 in challenge to Obama's deferred-deportation program; injunction remains

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The U.S. Supreme Court has split 4-4 in a challenge to President Barack Obama’s power to implement a deferred deportation program, leaving in place a nationwide injunction blocking the initiative.

The New York Times calls the tie vote “a sharp blow” to Obama’s program and “a rebuke to his go-it-alone approach to immigration.” The Washington Post called the deadlock “a significant legal defeat” for Obama.

Obama told reporters that the deadlock is “heartbreaking” for millions of immigrants and its effect will be to freeze his deferred immigration program until after the election.

Obama’s program offers deportation deferrals to immigrants who have lived here since at least January 2010, have no serious criminal record, and have children who are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents. The program is known as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA.

Challengers had claimed Obama’s executive action violated the Administrative Procedure Act and Obama’s constitutional duty to “take care” that the laws of the United States are faithfully executed. Texas was one of 26 states that challenged the program.

“Today’s decision keeps in place what we have maintained from the very start: one person, even a president, cannot unilaterally change the law,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement. “This is a major setback to President Obama’s attempts to expand executive power, and a victory for those who believe in the separation of powers and the rule of law.”

The case is United States v. Texas.

Related article:

ABAJournal.com: “Supreme Court appears divided in challenge to Obama’s deferred deportations”

ABAJournal.com: “Chemerinsky: ‘Potential blockbuster’ rulings expected in June”

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