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Immigration Unilateralism
Caesarism to the Supremes

The Obama administration has suffered a series of stinging legal defeats over its unilateral program for granting partial amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants. Now, it looks like the this Deferred Action for Parents of Americans program is likely headed to the Supreme Court. The Washington Post reports:

The Obama administration will ask the Supreme Court to overturn a lower court injunction that has held up a new program that potentially would shield up to 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation. The decision to take the case to the high court comes a day after a federal appeals panel ruled against the administration, keeping the new program on hold nearly a year after President Obama announced it. […]

Administration officials said they hope the court will take the case in the spring and issue a ruling by June, which, if favorable, could allow the program to begin in the summer, with just months left in Obama’s term. Republican presidential candidates have said they would dismantle the program, adding urgency to the administration’s efforts to get it started.

We aren’t legal experts at Via Meadia, but the DAPA program has always struck us as deeply problematic—not only because we thought it was likely to further poison and polarize the immigration debate, but also because it set a dangerous precedent about the boundaries of executive power. As American Interest chairman Francis Fukuyama (who knows a thing or two about the workings of the administrative state) wrote last November, the president “is not simply exercising judgment in the implementation of a law passed by Congress” by implementing DAPA. Rather, “he is in effect making law unilaterally and flying in the face of the expressed will of the people.”

There are reasons to be sympathetic to President Obama’s efforts to overhaul America’s immigration laws. The system has been broken for decades, and political elites have proven unable or unwilling to fix it. Moreover, the presence of millions of illegal immigrants in our society is a human problem that demands a humane response. But the president is not Caesar, and he cannot unilaterally change the law on major domestic policy questions without real consequences for the health of our political system. Fixing immigration law is a job for Congress—just as reining in executive overreach is a job for the courts. Even if Congress isn’t doing its job, the courts have been doing theirs.

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  • Proud Skeptic

    Anyone know if the Supreme Court is obligated to accept the case? If they don’t then that is the end.

    • Suzyqpie

      A Petition for Certiorari is presented to the SC asking for jurisdiction. This is the document the Court will read in order to decide whether to hear a case. In that document, will be included a history of the case, the basic facts, and the important legal issues that your case presents and clarification that the topic is of national relevance not confined to state relevance. Your opponent will also have a chance to file a response, and other interested parties may file briefs in support or against the petition. Your file will then go to a pool of Supreme Court clerks, who will review all of the documents, summarize them for the justices, and include a recommendation on whether to take the case. The justices then make a final decision. If they decide to hear a case, they will issue a Writ of Certiorari.

      • Proud Skeptic


      • iconoclast

        Isn’t the request for SCOTUS review just over the injunction, not the case itself brought by the States? From my obviously lay perspective, I don’t recall the SCOTUS hearing arguments over an injunction very often.

        • Suzyqpie

          Sans Petition for Certiorari, injunction has no standing. SC Clerks review & can argue over injunction. SC Clerks serve as a clearinghouse for what get to the SC, sounds like you already know that.

          • iconoclast

            Bits and pieces, that’s all. Trying to get a clear picture in my mind regarding all the sturm und drang.

    • FriendlyGoat

      No. It isn’t obligated that I know of—unless four justices decide to hear it. Given that we have four liberals for sure, I think they will hear it. They would rather try to convince Kennedy than let an adverse ruling stand, IMO anyway.

      • Proud Skeptic

        Makes sense.

  • Fat_Man

    John Roberts’s salivary glands are on high alert so that he can continue to slobber over Obama and his greatness.

  • Andrew Allison

    The President is clearly convinced that he is. in fact, a Caesar.

  • Tirebiter

    Well, we already know how his “Wise Latina” will vote, don’t we ?

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    “Moreover, the presence of millions of illegal immigrants in our society is a human problem that demands a humane response.”

    The humane thing is to do is what’s best for American Citizens whose jobs, wages, and country this is, and send all the invading aliens back to their own countries.

  • Beauceron

    How does any of this matter at all?

    The Left have made it a policy to disregard the law. Their goal is to flood the country with immigrants and change the demographics to their favor so that they can get their much sought after “permanent majority.” They have achieved their goal, and the “brown wave” the press celebrates (as if it was some organic evolution) has put the permanent majority within their grasp. They may not be able to legalize them by executive fiat yet, but they can just keep allowing them in so their numbers swell from 20-30 million to 40-50 million. Then they’ll have the power to enact legislation.
    It’s the Left. They win either way. It’s easy when you can flaunt the law. Fun too, I expect.

  • bannedforselfcensorship

    Do you know how clever the Democrats are?

    They claim that they will make all the illegals pay their back taxes during amnesty. Of course, their “back taxes” will be EITC and child tax credit checks going to them, not taxes coming from them.

    This is like a reverse Trump. Instead of “Mexico will pay for the wall!” it becomes “you will pay them as their penalty!”

  • a6z

    “But the president is not Caesar, and he cannot unilaterally change the law on major domestic policy questions without real consequences for the health of our political system.”

    The president is Caesar, and those real consequences are intended. Hope’n’change!

    • iconoclast

      Not good to be Caesar, for either Caesar or the Republic!

      • a6z

        Certainly it is bad for the subverted Republic. Caesar himself doesn’t seem dissatisfied.

  • stevewfromford

    It is not “broken” it is unenforced by design! I hate that term “broken” when applied to laws that an administration just refuses to enforce.

    A little truth might be in order there Meade.

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