June 18, 2020
On June 18, 2020, the Supreme Court ruled that the Trump administration’s decision to overturn an Obama-era Executive Order, “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” or DACA did not meet procedural justification requirements. Chief Justice Roberts wrote in the majority opinion that the court does “not decide whether DACA or its rescission are sound policies. [They] address whether the agency complied with the procedural requirement that it provide a reasoned explanation for its action.” He wrote further the Court doubts whether the Department of Homeland Security appreciated “the scope of its discretion or exercised that discretion in a reasonable manner.” The Chief Justice was joined by Justices Kegan, Breyer, Ginsburg and Sotomayor, who wrote a concurrence to the Court’s opinion, where she dissented with the Chief Justice’s arguments in part.
Sotomayor joined the plurality in “all but Part IV of the opinion” as she argued in her concurrence. Justice Sotomayor wrote that the plurality of the Court dismissed the Equal Rights Amendment claims of the Respondent, in this case The Regents of the University of California. Sotomayor argued that President Trump’s history of racially charged and anti-immigrant rhetoric means that the decision to overturn DACA could be considered “actionable discrimination.” She believes Robert’s opinion dismisses the claims of discrimination too readily.
According to the New York Times, the Court’s opinion means that the Trump administration will have to return to a lower court with new or different justification for overturning the policy. Therefore, DACA could return to the Supreme Court and then ultimately be eliminated if the administration finds new arguments to support their decision. Sotomayor’s concurrence on this matter, namely, that the administration’s actions could be understood as discrimination then becomes relevant in future DACA matters in the Supreme Court.
If you have any questions about the ways in which this may affect your status in the United States, our staff and attorneys remain available at their normal phone numbers and emails.