If you thought U.S. v Texas, the GOP-backed lawsuit challenging President Obama’s immigration executive actions, had anything to do with the law, think again.
The plaintiff states—led by the state of Texas—do not dispute that President Obama clearly has the legal authority to defer the removal of undocumented immigrants who would be covered by the executive actions known as DAPA and DACA expansion. Nor can they. That’s because Mr. Obama’s authority to temporarily defer the deportation of parents and DREAMers is clearly enshrined in the law. What the Republican-led plaintiffs really oppose is allowing undocumented immigrants to work legally so they can support their families. But the President’s authority to grant employment authorization to undocumented immigrants granted deferred action was put on the books by Congress decades ago.
So why did the GOP-led plaintiffs sue to block the executive actions?
For months we’ve seen legal analysts describe the case as a political question that should not be in the courts. Long-time New York Times Supreme Court reporter Linda Greenhouse noted, “This is a case that should have been tossed out of Federal District Court in the first instance. Instead, its stakes are now heightened enormously. If the justices approach their task as judges and not as politicians, the administration will easily prevail.”
Now we’re seeing the ultimate example proving Texas v. U.S. is a political case masquerading as a lawsuit. Confirmation comes from the Speaker of the House: Paul Ryan.
Ryan is preparing to allow the House to vote on filing an amicus brief, a move he calls “a very extraordinary step.” It is indeed. Instead of simply filing an amicus brief—the standard practice—Ryan is holding a roll call vote.
By holding a roll call vote, the Speaker is sending a clear message to Chief Justice Roberts: This case is pure politics.
What Ryan is doing is making sure his caucus will get a vote on the Texas case “scored” by anti-immigrant groups – and another talking point for their campaigns.