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DACA’s Moment of Truth Before the Supreme Court Is a Moment of Truth for Chief Justice John Roberts

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President Trump took to Twitter before today’s oral arguments at the Supreme Court to slander Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients. He also seemed to signal to the conservative majority of the Supreme Court that he expects them to do his bidding.

It was a message undoubtedly directed at Chief Justice John Roberts, who is likely to be the swing vote on this case. 

Will Roberts side with the lower courts, public opinion, legal precedent and briefs from across the political spectrum, or will he side with Trump? 

In an analysis posted on Medium yesterday, David Leopold – litigator and Chair of the immigration practice at Ulmer & Berne, LLP and past President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) – sizes up the stakes. Chief Justice Roberts has an opportunity to demonstrate that the Supreme Court puts law and precedent first, rather than serving as a “tool” in the President’s toolbox, as key Republican Trump administration officials have implied.

Leopold writes: “As long-time Supreme Court observer Linda Greenhouse laid out in her recent NYT column, Roberts should know better. Citing the Census decision in June, where Roberts wrote, ‘Reasoned decision making under the Administrative Procedure Act calls for an explanation for agency action. What was provided here was more of a distraction.’ Greenhouse points out, ‘Reasoned decision making’ was glaringly absent from the administration’s rollout of the decision to terminate DACA.’”

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, “The DACA case is a moment of truth for nearly 700,000 Dreamers, whose lives and futures will be thrown into disarray if Trump and Stephen Miller have their way. But it’s also a moment of truth for the Supreme Court and its reputation as an independent arbiter of justice. Will Chief Justice Roberts have the Court do the dirty work of the Trump administration and find a way to end this popular and successful program? Or will he find that the Trump administration botched this from the get-go and has to follow the law? History, along with the majority of Americans who stand with Dreamers, is watching.”