Justice Antonin Scalia's passing and what it means for President Obama's Executive Action on Immigration

The unexpected death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on February 13, 2016 impacts one of the most high-profile cases before the Court this year: whether President Obama's Executive Actions on Immigration overstepped the bounds of his authority. In November 2014, President Obama announced a bold series of Executive Actions, including expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals ("DACA") and a newly created Deferred Action for Parents of Americans ("DAPA"). His executive actions sought to expand the existing DACA program to include more individuals who were brought to the U.S. as children and who presently do not have status in the U.S., and to create a new program to allow parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents to remain in the U.S. and work without fear of deportation.

Shortly after President Obama announced his Executive Actions, seventeen states (with Texas as lead plaintiff) filed lawsuits claiming the President's proposed actions exceeded his authority. On February 16, 2015, a federal judge in Texas issued an injunction to prevent implementation of these two programs (expanded DACA and DAPA), a decision the Obama administration appealed. On November 9, 2015, in a 2 - 1 decision, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans affirmed the District Court's decision, halting President Obama's expanded DACA and DAPA programs. On January 19, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review in the case, known as United States v. Texas, with formal hearings set for April of this year. 

With eight justices presently serving on the Supreme Court, a 4-4 tie in the case is possible. A tie among the justices in United States v. Texas would preserve the lower court's decision, effectively placing a permanent injunction on the program. However, most legal experts agree there is clear precedence that permits a President to take executive actions related to immigration. Accordingly, immigration advocates are calling on the Supreme Court to continue hearing the case this April. We will continue to bring you news related to the hearings on United States v. Texas and any other DACA and DAPA related news on our website at www.iandoli.com/newsandupdates