In an apparent bid to bypass the liberal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and seek an immediate resolution to its effort to end the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, the Trump administration on Monday made the unusual decision to ask the Supreme Court to take over three cases concerning pending lawsuits that seek to preserve DACA.
A three-judge panel at the San Francisco-based federal appellate court heard arguments in May on whether the administration could end DACA, and the federal government had warned it would ask for high-court intervention if the appeals court did not decide by last Wednesday.
DACA, which was created after President Barack Obama signed an Executive Branch memorandum, gives some illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States as children the opportunity to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and become eligible for a work permit.
The Trump administration last year announced its plan to phase out the program, but federal courts have ruled variously that the phase-out could not apply retroactively and that the program should be restarted.
The White House fiercely condemned those court decisions, which were premised on the idea that the Executive Branch cannot arbitrarily phase out a right that individuals have come to rely on, simply by arguing that the right was established illegally without Congressional approval. (DACA proponents have also argued that Trump’s planned termination of the program violates federal law requiring adequate notice-and-comment periods before certain federal rules are changed, as well as other constitutional equal protection and due process guarantees.)
The Justice Department wants the justices to use their authority to decide the matter without waiting for lower courts to rule. It is rare the high court grants such a so-called fast-track petition before all the lower courts have weighed in on the merits.
There was no initial timetable from the justices on when they would decide whether to grant the Trump administration’s request.
The cases are DHS v. Regents of the University of California (18-587) (CA9); Trump v. National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (18-588) (CADC); and Nielsen v. Vidal (18-589) (CA2). The Trump administration is seeking to convince the Supreme Court to consolodate those cases because they make the same substantive objections to the planned DACA recession, and toss them all out on the merits.
Fox News’ Gregg Re contributed to this report.