A legal team that fought Barack Obama’s plan to delay deportation for up to 5 million illegal aliens says Thursday’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court is a victory for the unique American concept of separation of powers.
The legislative branch writes the laws, including changes to existing laws, and the executive branch enforces them.
The Supreme Court refused to rescue Obama’s de facto amnesty, which had been put on hold by a federal judge in Texas. The order later was affirmed by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Even though Obama confessed numerous times he didn’t have the authority to change the law, he attempted exactly that when his administration issued orders in 2014 that would allow millions of illegal aliens to remain in the country.
The American Center for Law and Justice was one of the organizations that entered the fray when Obama fought back after his changes to the laws were put on hold.
“This is a major blow to President Obama and an important victory for the separation of powers,” said ACLJ’s chief counsel, Jay Sekulow.
ACLJ filed a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of nearly 340,000 Americans in the case.
The court’s 4-4 tie effectively affirmed the lower court’s decision to block the amnesty plan.
“An equally divided Supreme Court keeps a federal injunction blocking President Obama’s unlawful executive order on immigration in place and underscores what we have argued all along: impatient presidents don’t get to change the law,” Sekulow said.
Obama himself had admitted he doesn’t have the authority to change the law. But he went ahead anyway, complaining that the refusal of Republicans in Congress to comply with his plan forced him to act unilaterally.
Reacting to the court’s vote Thursday, Obama said he was disappointed it was “unable to reach a decision” and said he looked forward to the confirmation of a ninth justice “to break the tie” in the case.
He blasted Republicans for not considering Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, saying they have refused to do their “most basic of jobs” under the Constitution, which actually is open on when and how Supreme Court nominees are considered.
Obama said that in the meantime, the decision Thursday will have little impact, because his current policies target only criminals for deporation.
He emphasized that he considers the result not to be an actual “decision.”
The court’s “inability to reach a decision is a very clear reminder of why it’s so important for the court to have a full bench.”
The Senate, which is majority Republican, has said it will take up the issue of a new Supreme Court justice after this fall’s election decision by voters.
“In the end, it is my firm belief that immigration is not something to fear,” Obama said.
He said those who “pick our fruit or make our beds” deserve to be American citizens like anyone.
House Speaker Paul Ryan said, “Today, Article I of the Constitution was vindicated. The Supreme Court’s ruling makes the president’s executive action on immigration null and void. The Constitution is clear: The president is not permitted to write laws – only Congress is. This is another major victory in our fight to restore the separation of powers.”
Sen. Harry Reid, the Democratic Senate majority leader, joined Obama in using the decision to criticize Republicans for not moving on Garland’s nomination.
“It highlighted how a hobbled Supreme Court is unable to provide justice to the American people. It showcased the need for a fully functioning Supreme Court and for Republicans to move without delay on the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland,” Reid said.
The presumptive Democratic nominee for president, Hillary Clinton, said Obama has the authority to change the law.
“Today’s deadlocked decision from the Supreme Court is unacceptable, and show[s] us all just how high the stakes are in this election. As I have consistently said, I believe that President Obama acted well within his constitutional and legal authority in issuing the DAPA and DACA executive actions,” she said.
New York Times White House correspondent Michael Shear said the ruling will force Obama “to finish his term without securing the major progress he had promised to millions of Latino immigrants living under the threat of deportation.”
“One of the president’s chief immigration legacies will be the years of increased enforcement he ordered at the border with Mexico and in immigrant communities, hoping it would lead to a compromise with Republicans,” he wrote.
An activist group called PICO National Network said it was “frustrated” with the decision.
“The court’s ruling undermines our human dignity and ultimately promotes unjust deportation policies and the senseless separation of families. It is unacceptable that our families continue to live in fear of raids and deportation,” the group said in a statement.
“This battle is not over. Faith leaders [in the group’s campaign] plan to activate hundreds of thousands of those eligible voters. We will continue the fight to protect our families and have plans to demonstrate the same power that led us to secure President Obama’s executive orders by making our voices heard at the polls and by voting in record numbers. We will not stop until every member of our community can live in dignity, without fear of being separated from their families.”
Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump has said his priority if elected is to crack down on illegal immigration. He has vowed to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border to reduce the invasion by illegals and make Mexico pay for it.
Daniel Garza, of the LIBRE Initiative, pointed out Obama’s hypocrisy.
“President Obama said many times that he lacked the authority to use executive actions to change immigration policy, but he ultimately made a politically motivated decision to prioritize executive action over working with Congress on real reform. Predictably, that has turned out to be a major error, and now seven years have passed without seeing real, meaningful immigration reform. Today millions of immigrants are exposed to deportation, at a time when the White House has targeted families. This was the wrong strategy, and millions of immigrants are suffering as a result.”
And FreedomWorks CEO Adam Brandon said: “There is no special clause [in the Constitution] that grants a president power when he can’t get his way. While today’s ruling is welcome news, Congress still has a long way to go before it restores the constitutional separation of powers and ends the imperial presidency.”
The Supreme Court used only nine words to block a mass amnesty program that would have given residency and other rights to millions of illegal aliens now in the United States.
A divided court, 4-4, stated: “The judgment is affirmed by an equally divided court.”
“The Supreme Court’s deadlock on the president’s immigration actions is a disappointing setback for hard-working, law-abiding immigrant families across America. Nevertheless, we are fully committed to ending the terrible fear of separation that hangs over immigrant families,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
Texas and 25 other states launched a lawsuit to halt the plan, and a federal district judge in Texas issued an injunction in their favor that was affirmed in the 5th Circuit.
In October 2010, Obama admitted he didn’t have the authority to carry out a mass amnesty plan.
“I am president, I am not king. I can’t do these things just by myself. … I’ve got to have some partners to do it. … If Congress has laws on the books that says that people who are here who are not documented have to be deported, then I can exercise some flexibility in terms of where we deploy our resources, to focus on people who are really causing problems as opposed to families who are just trying to work and support themselves. But there’s a limit to the discretion that I can show because I am obliged to execute the law. … I can’t just make the laws up by myself.”