In the midst of election season later this year, the Supreme Court will address the question of whether the Obama administration exceeded its constitutional authority when it attempted to defer deportation of the undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and other unauthorized immigrants.
For all the reasons Greg Sargent lays out here, the Court will be making itself a factor in the campaign, either by invalidating the deferred action program (leaving millions of immigrants who would’ve been eligible for it in the shadows) or legitimating it (thrusting questions of deportation policy and Supreme Court nominations into the center of the debate).
But as in previous Supreme Court cases, like King v. Burwell and others, it will also test the merits of the right’s reflexive opposition to administrative action in the Obama era.
When DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans) was still a work in progress (months before it was officially unveiled, along with detailed legal justification) prominent conservatives upbraided Obama as a modern Caesar, and inveighed against the propriety of deferring deportation for certain immigrants with hysterical certainty.
Of course, given the balance of power on the Court, five justices might agree with them. But while it’s easy to make half-baked, red-meat arguments that appeal to immigration restrictionists or politically minded judges, even the Roberts Court is a buzzsaw of reality that these arguments have to run into eventually.