Immigration Racism

There’s Good News and Bad News From the Supreme Court

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

First, the good news.

The Supreme Court decided not to kill Affirmative Action today by affirming a lower court ruling.

"The Court's affirmance of the University's admissions policy today does not necessarily mean the University may rely on that same policy without refinement," Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion for the court. "It is the University's ongoing obligation to engage in constant deliberation and continued reflection regarding its admissions policies."

As you may recall, the University of Texas at Austin was sued by a white woman who alleged that she was denied admission because of her race. She contented that the university's affirmative action program afforded her seat at the table to a supposedly undeserving minority. The truth of the matter was she was denied admission because her grades weren't good enough.

The 5th Circuit Court ruled in favor of the university and against the plaintiff, a ruling that was just upheld and affirmed by the Supreme Court. Justice Clarence Thomas wrote the dissent which, to say least, was unhinged.

Now, for the bad news.

President Obama's deferred action program for undocumented family members and works was effectively killed by the Supreme Court today was a deadlocked court ruled neither in favor or against his orders. The deadlocked vote means the lower court ruling will stand for now.

Obama announced the "Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents," or DAPA program, in November 2014. It would extend protections to more than 4 million parents who meet the criteria, just as a 2012 program did for immigrants brought to the United States as children. More than 700,000 have qualified for that earlier program.

Once qualified, parents also could apply for work authorization, pay taxes and receive some government benefits, such as Social Security. Those with criminal backgrounds or who have arrived since 2010 would not qualify.

If there is any silver lining to be found here, it's that a deadlocked court leaves the door open for another challenge and a chance for the Supreme Court to rule in favor of the president. That won't happen under the Obama presidency, but the next president will have an opportunity.

The issue could be resolved if Congress passes comprehensive immigration reform, but I don't believe that will happen as long as Republicans control the House of Representatives.

  • Aynwrong

    And yet 22% of Bernie voters say they would more likely vote for Trump rather than Hillary. If they can maintain that opinion in the face of this development then they are simply delusional.

    • Badgerite

      Or utterly self absorbed.

      • Isn’t it possible to be both? Trump is proof of that.

  • muselet

    Both of these cases were absurd.

    Abigail Fisher has brought suit twice (three times?) against the University of Texas on the same grounds: UT gave “her” spot to one of those people. She could find District-level judges who would agree with her, but kept losing at the appeals level. Would it be fair—impolite, admittedly, but fair—to say she’s a slow learner?

    And the arguments against DAPA were always ridiculous on their face, as Steve Benen pointed out this morning:

    [When DAPA was announced], the Justice Department took the unusual step of publishing a dense, 33-page legal memo, explaining in great detail exactly why the president’s executive actions are legally permissible under existing laws, rulings, and precedents. Federalist Society members couldn’t come up with a constitutional objection; Obama’s actions are in line with what some of his Republican predecessors did without incident; and the whole legal argument against Obama’s actions seemed a little silly.

    [links omitted]

    The only way for four of the Supremes to find against the Obama administration would be for them to ignore history and, effectively, reality as a whole. They did so, which should surprise exactly no one.

    Good news and bad news, indeed.


    • JMAshby

      If Scalia was still alive, the decision would have been 5-4 against rather than a deadlocked 4-4.

      • muselet

        Of course. That goes without saying.


      • Which will only add fuel to the fire for batshit conspiracy theorists that Scalia was murdered. /sigh