Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the 5-4 decision, which was supported by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor.
Roberts once again sided with the Liberals on the bench in penning the opinion in a momentous dispute that will infuriate judicial conservatives who are still bitter that he once delivered the decisive vote to uphold Obamacare.
The decision became the second time in a week that the Supreme Court ruled against the Trump administration — endorsed by two of President Donald Trump’s nominees. The court ruled on Monday that LGBTQ Americans are protected under the Civil Rights Act.
The ruling emphasizes that the administration failed to provide adequate justification for terminating the DACA program.
“We do not decide whether DACA or its rescission are sound policies,” Roberts wrote in a majority opinion. “‘The wisdom’ of those decisions ‘is none of our concern.’ We address only whether the agency complied with the procedural requirement that it provide a reasoned explanation for its action.”
President Donald Trump retweeted a tweet featuring the dissent of Justice Clarence Thomas, in his first reaction to the ruling.
The decision is “an effort to avoid a politically controversial but legally correct decision,” Thomas wrote.
Trump also appeared to blast the DACA decision, and an opinion issued earlier this week extending LGBTQ workers’ anti-discrimination protections.
“These horrible & politically charged decisions coming out of the Supreme Court are shotgun blasts into the face of people that are proud to call themselves Republicans or Conservatives,” he said.
Former President Barack Obama has weighed in on Twitter Thursday morning’s announcement, tweeting to DACA recipients: “Today, I ‘m happy for them, their families, and all of us.”
“We may look different and come from everywhere, but what makes us American are our shared ideals,” Obama said, recalling this week the initiative was created eight years ago.
Once again, however, the Trump administration could move to try to rescind the program, but this time the administration will have to provide a better policy-based explanation for its termination motive.
“Today’s decision allows Dreamers to breathe a temporary sigh of relief,” said Cornell Law School Professor Stephen Yale-Loehr. “The administration may try to terminate the DACA program with a better justification, but that will take months or years. In the meantime, Congress should enact permanent relief for Dreamers to end this drama once and for all.”
Luz Chávez, a Maryland-based DACA recipient, was at the Supreme Court ‘s steps when the decision came down Thursday.
“Right now, at the end of the day, our community won, right? We’ve been pushing for this for a long time. Immigrant youth are the reason why DACA was announced and created,” Chavez told CNN. “It’s exhilarating.”
Created by Obama after the stalemate in Congress
DACA, established in 2012, is available to any undocumented immigrant who came to the United States under the age of 16, who had lived in the United States since at least June 2007, was enrolled or graduated from high school, and had not been convicted of certain offenses.
A person always needed to pose no threats to national security or to public health. Renewable, two-year “deferred action” grants from removal became eligible for recipients that met the criteria. These were also eligible for work permit numbers and social security numbers. However, in exchange, they had to provide some identification details for the authorities.
After Trump assumed office, the then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the initiative had been established “without proper authority” and only after Congress had vetoed draft legislation. The next day, the then-acting Homeland Security Secretary, Elaine Duke, announced it would be phased out, pointing out that it had “legal and constitutional defects.”
Months later, after the start of court threats, the then-Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen released a new report laying out more policy-based justifications for shutting down the project. He said the plan, for example, raised the possibility of losing public confidence in the rule of law.
Civil judges weighed in and ruled the government had behaved unilaterally in breach of the rules while phasing out the system. The courts pointed to the thin justification of the administration — reasoning ultimately agreed with Roberts and the Supreme Court.
The administration moved aggressively to ask the Supreme Court to lift the injunctions, and success was predicted by the President.
“We want to be in the Supreme Court on DACA,” Trump said. But for months, the judges waited on the appeal, before eventually issuing last-minute cert.
A handful of states and DACA recipients, including the University of California, argue to the Supreme Court that the phase-out violated the Administrative Procedure Act, a federal law governing how regulations can be established by agencies.
One hundred and forty-three business associations and firms submitted a brief in support of DACA emphasizing that its phase-out would damage the economy. The brief points to Cato Institute’s libertarian research estimating that companies will face an estimated cost of $6.3 billion to replace Dreamers “if they can even find new employees to fill the empty positions.”
And Apple’s CEO Tim Cook filed a brief in support of DACA noting that his company employs 443 Dreamers from 25 countries and four continents.
“We did not hire them out of kindness or charity,” Cook argued. “We did it because Dreamers embody Apple’s innovative strategy” he said. “They come from diverse backgrounds and display a wide range of skills and experiences that equip them to tackle problems from different perspectives.”
During the court hearing testimony in the trial, DACA recipient backers have told the court that about 27,000 applicants were serving on the front lines to battle Covid-19.
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