The Obama Administration won a small but significant battle on Tuesday when the U.S. Supreme Court denied Texas’ request for an extra 30 days to respond to the White House’s petition for review of a controversial immigration case.
Texas, which leads a 26-state coalition that has already blocked the program twice in lower courts, was instead given eight days, or until Dec. 29, to respond. The 30-day extension originally sought could have pushed a final decision by the high court into 2017.
The court didn’t issue a direct order and attorneys for both sides were instead notified of the extension by the Supreme Court clerk, according to a report by Lyle Denniston, a contributor to SCOTUSblog.
Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office said it was confident moving forward.
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“The president does not have the unilateral authority to determine who is lawfully present in our nation, and we look forward to presenting our arguments in this case — which have been accepted by federal courts three times,” spokeswoman Cynthia Meyer said in an email.
The immigration program, known as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA, was announced last year and would shield about 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation. It was scheduled to go into effect in February but was halted that same month by U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen of Brownsville.
Hanen ruled that Obama didn’t comply with the Administrative Procedure Act, which governs how federal regulations are made. A Nov. 9 decision by the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Hanen's decision.
The administration appealed to the nation's high court, and Texas requested the 30-day extension. The Obama administration objected, saying a lengthy delay would push any eventual ruling so late into — or even beyond — Obama's last term that it would effectively doom the proposal.
In its Nov. 23 request for the month-long extension, Texas Solicitor General Scott Keller said the state had other pressing deadlines looming before the U.S. Supreme Court. He added that the Obama administration could have pursued other options before the court.