WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Obama administration wants to convince the Supreme Court to reconsider the decision in U.S. v. Texas, noting that nine justices must be present in the vote to finalize the ruling.
Acting Solicitor General Ian Heath Gershengorn filed a petition on July 19 in the Supreme Court of the United States against the State of Texas, et al. seeking the rehearing of the case before a full nine-member court. The petition cites Rule 44 as the basis for the request.
The recent decision of the Supreme Court in U.S. v. Texas affirmed the lower court's decision to halt the executive action of President Barack Obama regarding immigration policies. However, issues arose in relation to the voting as one of the justices, Antonin Scalia, passed away. His death left only eight members of the court to decide on the issue.
The result of the Supreme Court deliberation was 4-4, giving those against the executive immigration plan of Obama the advantage since the lower court decided that this should be blocked. The law dictates that the deadlock means the justices must uphold the ruling of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals which supported Texas.
The case originated in November 2014 when Obama announced his plans for the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) program. Under this project, illegal immigrants, who are parents of lawful permanent residents of the United States, are granted deferred action. However, DAPA was blocked by the courts following the request of 26 states.
In his petition, Gershengorn himself admitted that the possibility of obtaining a rehearing from the Supreme Court is “exceedingly rare.” However, he pointed out that the equally divided court was caused by a vacancy as opposed to a disqualification. Hence, the petition for a rehearing has a substantial basis for approval.
While there is still hope that the rehearing might be granted, the timeline to land a favorable decision for the Obama administration appears to be bleak. The limited period that the current president has left in his term would make it nearly impossible to select a new Supreme Court justice in time for another vote. More importantly, it would be difficult to file the necessary paperwork to iron out all the details of the program.
If the next sequence of events goes in favor of Obama, then a nine-member court would be able to begin its new term by October. This means that the nomination of the ninth Supreme Court justice will be largely dependent on who gets elected as the next U.S. president.
Interestingly, the two candidates for the U.S. presidency offer glaring differences in their stands on immigration policies.
Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton is widely known to be a supporter of the Obama immigration policies. In fact, Clinton even vows to further the plans of her predecessor if she gets elected as the next president of the country.
Meanwhile, Republican candidate Donald Trump is a staunch believer that undocumented aliens are the evils of the society. During the campaign, the real estate mogul turned presidential candidate faced backlash due to his comments against Mexican immigrants and illegal aliens from other countries. If his speeches are to be used as references for his future plans, then illegal workers in the U.S. are expected to be deported as soon as Trump lands the presidency.
The majority of illegal immigrants qualified to reap the benefits of DAPA have homes in Texas, California and New York. If the Supreme Court rules in favor of Obama's immigration plan, then a delayed deportation of approximately 5 million undocumented aliens in the country can be granted.