Three major questions emerged during Monday's Supreme Court arguments on President Obama's immigration program, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA): 1. Do the 26 GOP-led states have standing to bring the case (i.e. would they suffer real injury if the programs were implemented); 2. Does Obama have the authority to provide deportation relief for millions of immigrants; and 3. Do Obama's actions really bestow a legal status on the undocumented?
The standing question in U.S. v. Texas, which we delved into earlier today, became a real hurdle for the Republican-led legal challenge. David Leopold, an immigration attorney and advocate, attended the oral arguments and believes Chief Justice John Roberts left himself an opening to find that the plaintiffs haven't proven sufficient injury to bring the claim—in other words, they lack standing.
"As he has done in other cases, Roberts peppered the Obama administration with tough questions,” Leopold observed, “however, his questioning also left room for the case to be dismissed on standing."
In fact, Leopold was struck by how readily the plaintiffs admitted to having political motivations for having brought the case.
"Republican state leaders and Speaker Paul Ryan's lawyers made it clear they oppose the president's policy on political grounds and don't have a redressable legal claim," he said. "On the merits, they conceded that Obama had the authority to grant reprieves to undocumented parents and Dreamers. As Kagan pointed out, their 'gripe' is letting undocumented people work, which just goes to show the anti-immigrant motive of this case."