U.S. v. Texas: Takeaways From Oral Argument at #SCOTUS
April 18, 2016 Leave a comment
I had the privilege of attending today’s oral argument in U.S. v. Texas. Here are my initial takeaways:
What we saw today was the Republicans trying to litigate a political dispute at the Supreme Court. The Republican plaintiffs simply do not have an addressable legal claim.
As expected, Chief Justice Roberts peppered the Obama Administration with tough questions. However, given the Chief Justice’s rigorous views on standing and his lamentations about the growing perception of a politicized Court, U.S. v Texas is precisely the type of dispute that Chief Roberts seems to want settled in the political branches and not in the judiciary. In fact, the Chief Justice’s almost singular focus on standing today – in particular when he asked whether Texas’s alleged injury was more indirect and speculative than in the Massachusetts v EPA case – suggests that, true to his well-articulated past opinions, Roberts is seriously questioning Republicans’ ability to bring this case.
This case remains about Republicans’ policy disagreement with the president, not about the law.
On the merits, the Republican plaintiffs conceded that Obama had the authority to temporarily defer the removal of undocumented parents and Dreamers. As Justice Kagan pointed out, the Republican plaintiffs’ “gripe” is with letting undocumented people work, support their families and live in this country with dignity in the process.
This underscores the anti-immigrant motivation behind the case and reminds us that a political lawsuit should be settled at the ballot box, not the Supreme Court.