Barack Obama’s Executive Orders that allow illegal immigrants to stay in the country without fear of being deported, were effectively disallowed by the Supreme Court this week. The “Deferred Action Programs,” as they are known, failed because the court was tied 4-4. So it is T.S.O.L.
If Justice Antonin Scalia had been on the court, it is probably safe to say they would have been stuck down 5-4.
Obama has signed 235 executive orders to date. That is less than Bill Clinton (364) and George W. Bush (291), but more than George H.W. Bush (166).
The Obama immigration plan took shape in November 2014. There was no discussion with the states, and it wasn’t long before those most affected by it issued a response. Texas and 25 other states went to court, saying Obama had overstepped his powers. The U.S. Constitution gives the president power, but he cannot infringe upon the authority of Congress.
Obama’s executive action was unilateral, and therefore bypassed the Republican-led Congress. Neither Obama nor the Democrats cared about that, but the States wanted the executive orders struck down.
In 2015 a lower court struck down the orders, but the White House continued to fight and the case went to the Supreme Court.
The split decision by the Supreme Court leaves the lower court’s ruling in place.
Obama’s executive order was meant to prevent the deportation of around 4 million of the 11-12 million people living in the U.S. illegally. It was seen as one of Obama’s signature policies, that he was hoping to leave as part of his legacy.
Republicans were happy to see this Obama policy initiative go down in flames.
For his part, Obama wanted to add another liberal justice to the court, but Republicans would not cooperate, and so the court operates with one member missing.
After the ruling, Obama said, “I think it is heartbreaking for the millions of immigrants who made their lives here, who’ve raised families here, who hope for the opportunity to work, pay taxes, serve in our military, and fully contribute to this country we all love in an open way.”