In a 4 to 4 tie, the Supreme Court has upheld lower court rulings that enjoin the Obama administration from moving forward with executive amnesty for 4.5 million illegal immigrants with U.S.-born children.
The ruling upheld a preliminary injunction put in place by the U.S. District Court of Southern District of Texas and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. The original rulings also granted standing to the state of Texas to sue against the amnesty.
Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott hailed the ruling as a victory, saying, “The action taken by the President was an unauthorized abuse of presidential power that trampled the Constitution, and the Supreme Court rightly denied the President the ability to grant amnesty contrary to immigration laws. As the President himself said, he is not a king who can unilaterally change and write immigration laws. Today’s ruling is also a victory for all law-abiding Americans—including the millions of immigrants who came to America following the rule of law.”
Here, Abbott was referring to the repeated instances where Obama said he could not just change the law unilaterally without Congress.
For example in Nov. 2013, he said, “If, in fact, I could solve all these problems without passing laws in Congress then I would do so. But we’re also a nation of laws. That’s a part of our tradition.”
Obama was responding to a heckler at a San Francisco speech who insisted “You have a power to stop deportation for all undocumented immigrants in this country.”
“Actually, I don’t,” was Obama’s initial response.
He added, “The easy way out is to try and yell and pretend like I can do something by violating our laws, and what I’m proposing is the harder path which is to use our democratic processes.”
That is, until he found little political support in Congress for his position. And then he just went ahead and changed the law unilaterally a year later.
The case now proceeds to trial in the district court before Judge Andrew Hanen, who issued the original injunction.
Meaning, for now, the Obama executive amnesty is dead, with another round of court rulings on the merits of the case to be decided, which centers around whether President Barack Obama had authority to defer prosecutorial action against an entire class of illegal immigrants.
While it is possible lower courts could rule quickly on the matter, there is little chance it would be back before the Supreme Court until next year the earliest, after the presidential election. That may prove to be the pivotal moment, not in the courtroom, but at the ballot box that the final fate of executive amnesty is decided.