The Supreme Court has just handed President Obama a massive blow to what he’d intended as one of his central legacies. A 4-4 tie decision has left in place an appeals court ruling blocking the president’s plan — instituted by executive action — to shield millions of illegal immigrants from deportation and allow them to work.
The president was quick to slam the “frustrating,” “heartbreaking” decision that he claims not only set “the system back further, it takes us further from the country that we aspire to be.”
As The New York Times reports:
The Supreme Court on Thursday announced that it had deadlocked in a case challenging President Obama’s plan to shield millions of immigrants from deportation and allow them to work. The 4-4 tie left in place an appeals court ruling blocking the plan, dealing a sharp blow to an ambitious program that Mr. Obama had hoped would become one of his central legacies. Instead, even as the court deadlocked, it amplified the already contentious election-year debate over the nation’s immigration policy and presidential power.
The case, United States v. Texas, No. 15-674, concerned a plan to allow as many as five million unauthorized immigrants who are the parents of citizens or of lawful permanent residents to apply for a program that would spare them from deportation and provide them with work permits. The program was called Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA.
Mr. Obama has said he took action in 2014 after years of frustration with Republicans in Congress who had repeatedly refused to support bipartisan Senate legislation to update immigration laws. A coalition of 26 states, led by Texas, promptly challenged the plan, accusing the president of ignoring administrative procedures for changing rules and of abusing the power of his office by circumventing Congress.
In addition to its specific impact on immigration, today’s Supreme Court ruling is also a slam on President Obama’s “pen and phone” approach to creating law in our nation.
“Today’s decision keeps in place what we have maintained from the very start: one person, even a president, cannot unilaterally change the law,” Ken Paxton, the Texas attorney general, said in a statement after the ruling. “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.”
For Mr. Obama, the ruling is a rebuke to his go-it-alone approach to immigration and effectively blocks any hope that his administration could protect millions of immigrants from the threat of deportation before he hands the presidency to his successor.
Of course, President Obama doesn’t like to be told no, and he is already pouting about it from his bully pulpit. As Politico reports:
President Barack Obama sharply criticized the Supreme Court’s deadlocked decision Thursday that effectively thwarted his efforts to expand executive actions on immigration.
“Our founders conceived this country as refuge for the world. Welcoming wave after wave of immigrants kept us youthful and dynamic and entrepreneurial,” Obama said. “It has shaped our character and it has made us stronger. But for more than two decades now our immigration system, everybody acknowledges, has been broken. And the fact that the Supreme Court wasn’t able to issue a decision today doesn’t just set the system back further, it takes us further from the country that we aspire to be.”
Boohoo, Mr. President — might be a hint that you should try to play well with others in order to advance your agenda. The United States is still a republic, not a dictatorship, much as you might like to think it’s the latter. Oh, and yes, our legacy is one of immigration — legal immigration. Somehow that detail keeps getting lost in your tantrums on the topic.
Not surprisingly, Democrat anointed one Hillary Clinton shared the president’s reaction:
Today's heartbreaking #SCOTUS immigration ruling could tear apart 5 million families facing deportation. We must do better. -H
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) June 23, 2016
While today’s decision is a victory for proponents of legal immigration and upholding the separation of powers and rule of law in our nation, it is also an ever-so-stark reminder of just how thin the balance of power is within our highest court. That balance will no doubt shift under the next President of the United States.
Who do you want appointing these justices? Hillary Clinton, who appears to want to go even further than President Obama on immigration, or Donald Trump, whose common-sense stance on illegal immigration has the left seeing red?
[Note: This article was written by Michelle Jesse, Associate Editor]