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SCOTUS to Review Obama's Unilateral Amnesty

Another case of executive overreach heads to the Supreme Court.

Jordan Candler · Jan. 19, 2016

Finally, after a year of legal hurdles in the lower courts, the Supreme Court will determine the constitutionality of Barack Obama’s unilateral amnesty. On Tuesday, the justices agreed to hear United States v. Texas, the subject of two executive actions. “One, known as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA), would halt deportations and offer work permits to the parents of U.S. citizens and permanent legal residents,” The Hill explains. “The other would expand Obama’s 2012 program — the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative — which provides the same protections to some high-achieving illegal immigrants brought to the country before age 16. The expanded program would simply extend DACA eligibility to a greater number of people.”

Twenty-six states sued to stop Obama’s amnesty shortly after it went into effect. U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen issued a temporary injunction last February, correctly accusing Obama of exceeding his executive authority. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit agreed in November and upheld the injunction. But the Supreme Court will ultimately have the final say. The timing is interesting to say the least. The Hill notes, “If the justices had declined to [take up Obama’s amnesty] in the next round of cases, it would have solidified the Fifth Circuit’s injunction through the end of Obama’s White House tenure.” Since a Republican president could undo these actions as early as next January, the justices’ decision to take up the case leaves open the possibility that they have enough support to uphold Obama’s amnesty. The administration’s track record in cases regarding executive overreach, however, suggests otherwise. We’ll find out by June.

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