Poole Law Center

United States versus Texas

Today the Supreme Court of the United States heard oral arguments for ‘United States versus Texas,’ in which Texas and 25 other states challenged President Obama’s expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) that he announced in November 2014.

Just two days before applications for the expanded DACA were to be accepted, Texas filed a lawsuit arguing that the program was unlawful and requesting an injunction to halt the program until the case was finalized. They won their injunction. The United States then  appealed to the 5th Circuit.  The injunction was upheld, and so what began as Texas v. US is now US v Texas at the Supreme Court.  A few issues at the heart of the case include when one government can sue another and how far the Executive Branch can go before perhaps overreaching into actions reserved for Congress.

Two things about this oral argument that do not happen at every oral argument: a representative for the millions of undocumented aliens benefitting from deferred action spoke for 10 minutes, and a representative for the House of Representatives (opposing DACA and DAPA) spoke for 30 minutes as a friend of the court.

Here are the questions the court is considering:

http://www.supremecourt.gov/qp/15-00674qp.pdf

  1. Whether the states have standing to bring the suit;
  2. Whether the President’s action is arbitrary and capricious or otherwise not in accordance with the law;
  3. Whether the President’s action is subject to the Administrative Procedure Act’s notice-and-comment procedures;
  4. Whether (added by the SCOTUS), the President’s action violates the take care clause of the constitution (Article II, Section 3).

Here is the transcript from today’s oral argument:

http://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arguments/argument_transcripts/15-674_h3dj.pdf

(Audio link will be added when available)

There are endless opinion pieces out there trying to predict one way or the other. I predict: that we will know the result in June (likely during the American Immigration Lawyer Association’s Annual Conference). IF (big IF) things go in favor of DACA, I assume they will be ready to re- roll out the expansion rather quickly, as they were just two days from accepting applications previously and will be in a rush to get things implemented before the Presidential election. The DAPA program was previously a few months shy of anticipated roll out so I do not see that happening (if a ruling is in favor of the US) until much closer to the election.