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Supreme Court Opens Possibility To Hear Immigration Case This Term

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Yesterday, we learned that the Supreme Court rejected the attempt by Texas to delay consideration of the immigration executive action lawsuit. This was an important development.

After the Fifth Circuit ruled against the Obama administration last month, the Department of Justice immediately appealed to the Supreme Court, with hopes that the Supreme Court would hear the case in the session that ends in June.

In response, Texas asked for a 30-day extension to file its response. If SCOTUS granted that extension, which is standard procedure, the timeframe would have made it much harder for us to get consideration of the case in this term.

Huffington Post’s Legal Editor Cristian Farias noted, “More often than not, the court simply grants these mundane extension requests as a matter of course.” Instead, the Supreme Court granted only an eight-day extension.

Long-time Supreme Court reporter Lyle Dennison from SCOTUSblog tweeted:

This could mean that the immigration case will be argued before the Supreme Court in spring and decided by June. Of course, with the Supreme Court, nothing is guaranteed. But this latest procedural hurdle was a welcome step toward the Supreme Court finally being able to step in and put an end to the political game playing that Republicans are engaged in.

The next step will be a conference of the Justices, probably in January. At that time, the Justices will decide if the case will be heard this term. Huffington Post’s Farias laid out the potential timeline:

Supreme Court clerk Scott Harris said Tuesday in a notice to lawyers for the parties that Texas would have until Dec. 29 to respond to the administration’s appeal. This effectively puts the dispute on track to be considered at the justices’ Jan. 15, 2016, conference.

If the court agrees to hear the case following the conference, its rules would allow briefing to take place in February and March and oral arguments in April. A ruling would likely come down in June — several months before the presidential election.

We also checked in with immigration lawyer, David Leopold, for his perspective:

The Supreme Court’s rejection of Texas’ bid for a 30 day extension is very good news.  Of course the ruling does not tell us whether or not the Supreme Court will hear the Obama administration’s appeal of the Republican lawsuit attacking DAPA and DACA expansion.  But the Supreme Court’s ruling yesterday is a welcome sign that the Justices will not permit the state of Texas to unnecessarily delay the case on procedural grounds with the goal of avoiding Supreme Court review.  To me the Supreme Court’s refusal to grant Texas a 30 day extension signals that the Justices fully intend to consider the case based on the law and the facts and keep politics out of the courtroom.  That’s why so many immigrants, reform advocates, law professors, former government officials and public officials have been eager to get the Republican lawsuit before the U.S. Supreme Court.  It’s high time that the case be decided on the law and facts, not on rank conjecture, speculation and politics.

America’s Voice Education Fund joined over two hundred other organizations filing an amicus brief on behalf of the DAPA and DACA programs with the U.S. Supreme Court. The brief highlights stories of the men, women, and children impacted by the political delay of DAPA and DACA expansion. You can read the full brief here.

For specific questions and answers about DAPA, DACA, and the lawsuit, visit dapaquestions.org.