On June 23, 2016 the U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion in the closely-watched case of U.S. v. Texas. The Court's opinion totaled only nine words: "The judgment is affirmed by an equally divided court." The court's 4-4 ruling demonstrates the significance of the death of Justice Antonin Scalia and the Senate's inaction on confirming Merrick Garland, President Obama's nomination to Supreme Court.
U.S. v. Texas was the culmination of an injunction granted to the State of Texas (joined by seventeen other states in their lawsuit) over President Obama's proposed Executive Actions on Immigration, originally announced in November 2014. The President's Actions included the expansion of the existing program for Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals ("DACA") and the addition of a new program for Deferred Action for Parents of Americans ("DAPA"). These programs sought to assist individuals brought to the U.S. as children who are without status in the U.S. and the parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents who are without status. Under both programs, the eligible individuals would be permitted to remain in the U.S. and work without fear of deportation.
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. The Obama administration appealed and in April 2016 argued its case before the U.S. Supreme Court. With its divided decision last month, the Supreme Court's decision leaves the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals' decision in place, effectively blocking the President's Executive Actions for now. U.S. v. Texas, like other equally divided Supreme Court decisions, does not set precedent and thus is not a binding decision on any future cases concerning Executive Authority or immigration. A full copy of the Supreme Court's opinion, along with briefs filed with the Court, can be found on the court's website.