Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

State wants delay on immigration appeal

Of course it does.


The Texas Attorney General’s office is asking the U.S. Supreme Court for an extra 30 days to respond to the Obama Administration’s appeal of lower court rulings that have blocked controversial changes in immigration enforcement.

The move could affect the timing of a final decision on the program, known as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA, which has been blocked for more than a year since the state of Texas filed suit to halt the program.


The state’s request, if granted, would give the office of Attorney General Ken Paxton until Jan. 20, 2016 to respond to the White House’s filing. Advocates of the president’s program have already expressed concerns that a final determination by the high court could come as late as June, about six months before the president leaves office. It’s unclear what the timeline would be if the extension is granted.

The justice department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday, but in Friday’s request the agency argues the case “warrants immediate review.”

In the state’s request for an extension, Texas Solicitor General Scott Keller says the state has “numerous pressing deadlines in other cases” before the Supreme Court that were pending before the White House filed its petition.

Keller also argues that the White House could have asked the high court to take the matter up sooner.

“After the district court and court of appeals months ago denied petitioners’ motions to stay the preliminary injunction pending appeal, petitioners declined to seek a stay from this Court,” he wrote.

See here and here for the background. The complaint that the Obama administration has slowed things down is pretty ridiculous; this appeal was filed less than two weeks after the Fifth Circuit issued its ruling, and there was no request made for an en banc review. If you really want to complain about the timing, take it up with the two judges that wrote the majority opinion, as their dissenting colleague criticized them for taking so damn long to rule. I’m rooting for SCOTUS to deny this request.

Related Posts:


  1. Dick Lavine says:

    Here’s what Linda Greenhouse said in her NY Times blog (

    The majority opinion is as cynical an exercise of judicial authority as I can remember — and no, I haven’t forgotten Bush v. Gore. The dissenting judge, Carolyn Dineen King, nailed it when she said the case “essentially boils down to a policy dispute” and that “the policy decisions at issue in this case are best resolved not by judicial fiat, but via the political process.” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. could hardly have said it better himself. In fact, he did say essentially the same thing, in his dissenting opinion last June in the same-sex marriage case.

    I don’t casually accuse courts of cynicism, and I’m not so naïve as to be shocked at the thought that a judge’s political outlook might influence a judicial outcome. So let’s look at the details, beginning with the untoward delay in issuing the opinion, four months after the case was argued in the Fifth Circuit’s New Orleans courthouse. This was supposed to be an “expedited appeal” to be decided within 60 days, and as the weeks and months went by, suspicions grew in the immigration advocacy community that the judges were deliberately running out the clock on the Obama administration’s ability to get an appeal up to the Supreme Court in time for a decision during the current term. In mid-October, some immigration activists staged demonstrations in front of the courthouse, including a nine-day hunger strike, to shame the judges into releasing the opinion. In her dissenting opinion, Judge King said there had been “no justification” for what she called the “extended delay.”

    (The kindest thing to say about the judges in the majority, Jerry E. Smith and Jennifer Walker Elrod, is that they may have used their time not to evade timely Supreme Court review but to write snarky comebacks to Judge King’s unanswerable dissenting opinion. I’ve rarely read anything in an opinion as condescending as this footnote, addressed to Judge King, the circuit’s former chief judgeand one of the country’s most highly respected jurists: “Our dedicated colleague has penned a careful dissent, with which we largely but respectfully disagree. It is well-researched, however, and bears a careful read.” Another footnote contains this criticism: “The dissent, throughout, cleverly refers to the states, more than forty times, as the ‘plaintiffs,’ obscuring the fact that they are sovereign states [while referring to the defendants as the ‘government.’ ]” Sorry, Judges Smith and Elrod, the 26 states are the plaintiffs, and it is standard judicial practice to refer to the federal government as the government. I suppose you might have preferred the case to be named “Twenty-six Sovereign States v. A Man Called Barack Obama.”)

    Although the Supreme Court’s window for the current term is closing quickly, Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. will get a petition up to the court in time. Assuming the justices agree to hear the case, it will be fascinating to see how they respond to a decision that reads like a judicial version of the old Woody Allen movie “Sleeper,” in which everything that used to be bad for you is now good, and vice versa.

  2. Caro says:

    Glad to see someone writing about this. SCOTUS needs to deny Texas’ request.

    I think it’s worth mentioning that currently in Houston about 65,000 undocumented folks are currently benefiting from the 2012 DACA Policy announced by the Obama Administration. Approximately 130,000 could benefit from DAPA in Harris County, according to the Migration Policy Institute, and it’s frustrating to see that a state where so many people who could be positively impacted by this policy is taking the lead in ensuring that there is no pathway for families to apply for a work permit and relief from deportation.

    Suggested reading for folks who are wondering what the President can do now as we wait for the SCOTUS’ decision

  3. […] here, here, and here for the background. I’m pleased by this and hope it leads to the April hearing that […]