In March, the 5th Circuit appeals court granted the Obama Administration’s request to fast-track its appeal of Judge Hanen’s preliminary injunction which temporary blocked implementation of DACA expansion and DAPA. The Administration and the plaintiff states agreed to a briefing schedule which requires that all written arguments be filed with the appeals court by the third week in May.
In the meantime, on April 17, the court of appeals will hear oral argument on the Obama Administration’s request that it stay (or temporarily postpone) the hold Judge Hanen placed on DACA expansion and DAPA when he issued his preliminary injunction on February 16.
Importantly, the April 17 hearing is not a hearing on the appeal of Judge Hanen’s preliminary injunction. It is a hearing on the Obama Administration’s motion to stay (temporarily postpone) the injunction while the court of appeals considers the case. In effect, what the Obama administration is asking is that the court of appeals stop Judge Hanen’s order from taking effect until it decides the entire case. So the April 17 hearing is not the final hearing on the appeal. If, for some reason, the court of appeals does not postpone the injunction that doesn’t mean the Obama Administration has lost the appeal. It just means the court of appeals has decided to continue to let Judge Hanen’s temporary delay of DACA expansion and DAPA stay in place while they consider the case.
It’s confusing. But the upshot is that while the April 17 hearing is very important, it’s hopefully just another step along the way to getting the GOP lawsuit thrown out of court—where it belongs.
The appeals court has not yet scheduled Oral argument on the appeal of the preliminary injunction itself. That should happen toward the end of May once the parties are finished briefing the case.
Given the fast track briefing schedule, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals could issue a decision on the Obama Administration’s full appeal sometime in June or July. That means that regardless of whether or not the Court of Appeals temporarily lifts the injunction after the April 17 hearing, if the Obama Administration wins the appeal the delay to DAPA/DACA expansion could be no more than a few weeks.