This week, the Supreme Court of the United States has announced that it is planning to question the lawfulness of President Obama’s orders to reform the immigration regulations. The court will investigate if he has overstepped his presidential power and will deliver its judgment on his most far-ranging executive actions.
Previously, the court had twice dismissed challenges to the president’s orders by supporting his health care law. This time, the Supreme Court will rule on Mr. Obama’s intentions to protect the rights of more than five million illegal immigrants that have crossed the U.S. border, save them from deportation, and issue them a labor permit to be employed in the country on legal grounds. This decision concerns those illegal immigrants that came to the U.S. as children or those who have children that are U.S. citizens.
In November 2014, the President announced his intentions, but since that time, his plan has not gone into force because Andrew S. Hanen, a judge from Texas, put in on hold in February 2015. Besides, General Ken Paxton, a Texas attorney and a Republican, led a coalition of 26 states and applied to the court accusing Mr. Obama of disregard to federal procedures for changing regulations and going beyond his power by circumventing Congress.
Initially, the court hearing was supposed to cover three questions under the case listed in the Justice Department petition: if the president’s actions ordered in 2014 were unwarranted and arbitrary according to federal law, if the White House officials were obliged to go through a formal period of noticing and commenting before proceeding with its plan, and if states have legal standing to appeal the deferred actions grants by offering benefits to this group of immigrants.
But besides the issues submitted, the judges made an unusual move of adding one more question to the case: whether the President had broken his constitutional obligations to enforce the nation’s regulations. Experts claim that in such a way the court wants to make sure that all relevant issues were applied to the case by the parties. Moreover, the answer to the court’s question may significantly change the scope of presidential authority in realms far beyond illegal immigration issue. According to experts, in the case the court upholds Mr. Obama’s executive actions, it will rearrange the balance of authority between the President and Congress.