Supreme Court Moves on Oral Arguments in Obama Immigration-Action Case

logoBy Brent Kendall, WSJ

Decision gives airtime to GOP-controlled House, group of illegal immigrants

The Supreme Court is expanding its oral arguments in an upcoming case about the lawfulness of the Obama administration’s executive actions on immigration, a move that gives airtime to the GOP-controlled House of Representatives and a group of illegal immigrants.

The justices in an order late Friday said they will hear 90 minutes of argument in the case April 18. Most of that time will go to the Obama administration and to the 26 states that are suing to challenge a White House plan to defer deportation for about four-million immigrants who are in the country without authorization.

The court also gave 15 minutes to lawyers for the House and 10 minutes of argument time to a group of illegal immigrants who are undocumented mothers of children who are U.S. citizens.

The result is that two branches of the federal government—legislative and executive—will be arguing before a third, the judiciary.

The full House voted last month to file a brief in the immigration case, a rare move that signaled the level of displeasure from congressional Republicans with the president’s move to act unilaterally on immigration.

At issue is an Obama administration program called Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA, which provides a reprieve to illegal immigrants with children who are U.S. citizens, if they meet certain criteria.

The White House argues that the program simply formalizes the discretionary authority the president already has on immigration matters.

But the group of 26 states, led by Texas, convinced lower courts to block implementation of the program, arguing that the president had overstepped his authority.

Most of the case to date has focused on mundane questions about whether the Obama administration followed proper administrative procedures. But there are much bigger legal issues at stake at the Supreme Court, where the justices will consider whether the White House exceeded proper constitutional bounds.

A decision is expected by the end of June.

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