The U.S. Justice Department asked the U.S. Supreme Court to rehear a challenge to the Obama administration’s plan to delay the deportation of nearly five million undocumented immigrants. The justices on June 23 deadlocked 4-4 in United States v. Texas, leaving in place a lower court’s nationwide injunction that froze the deportation plan.
In the eight-page petition, acting solicitor general Ian Gershengorn acknowledged that the high court rarely grants rehearings. Still, he said, the court had granted them in the past where the 4-4 division occurred because of a vacancy on the bench—as exists now, after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. The administration had sought to overturn the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which upheld the injunction after finding the immigration action exceeded executive power. Texas and 25 other Republican-led states brought the challenge to the administration’s plan.
In a press statement, the American Immigration Lawyers Association noted, “The position we find ourselves in, with a Congress unable to lead on immigration reform, and a Supreme Court unable to reach a decision, is an unusual and untenable situation that warrants a rehearing”. They also commented, “Rehearing this case is the right thing to do, so that millions of American families will finally know where they stand and whether America stands with them.”