Our Republican-controlled House of Representatives has filed a fantastical brief at the Supreme Court to support the case against President Obama's deferred action programs for undocumented immigrants.
Among other things, the brief accuses President Obama of "encouraging" and "authorizing" violations of the law.
"The Executive may disagree with the laws Congress enacts and may try to persuade Congress to change them. But neither any immigration law now on the books nor the Constitution empowers the Executive to authorize—let alone facilitate—the prospective violation of those laws on a massive class-wide scale," the brief states.
It adds that the Obama administration's "novel theory that the power to enforce the law includes the power to authorize its prospective violation not only defies law and logic; it also raises constitutional concerns of the first order."
This reads very damning indeed but unfortunately for them it means less than dick.
Exercising executive discretion to prioritize the enforcement of immigration law is well within the president's authority as we know it or as it's been known in the past. What remains to be seen is if the Supreme Court will decide President Obama does not have the same authority previous presidents have had.
We may not even be having this discussion today if Republicans who challenged the president's authority did not "judge shop" and file their case in Texas under the jurisdiction of the arch conservative Fifth Circuit Court. It's likely that almost any other federal court system in the country would have affirmed the president's authority and the plaintiffs knew that.
At least some of the immigration raids that have made headlines in recent weeks and months would not be taking place if the president's orders had not been blocked in court. The Obama administration's hands are tied for the moment and they may continue to be in the future. If my understanding of the situation is correct, it's possible an evenly-divided Supreme Court could affirm the Fifth Circuit Court's decision while allowing the president's orders to be carried out in other jurisdictions; effectively creating a chaotic patchwork for federal authorities.
It's also possible the court could rule against the White House outright but that is considerably less likely following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.
Conservatives have accused the president of allowing dangerous, violent immigrants to run amok in the street, but that is very ironic considering the ultimate outcome of their lawsuit against the president. The president's orders prioritized the apprehension of violent criminals above innocent children and families but the lawsuit filed by a group of Republican state governments has forced the administration to treat all immigrants equally whether they're a threat or not. In effect, Republicans have kept more dangerous people on the street while deporting innocents.
Of course, in the GOP's view, no immigrant is innocent. We're not very far removed when the Republican party collectively shitting their pants because small children with an average age of 8 surged across the border.