The Supreme Court on Monday handed President Trump a major defeat by turning down the administration’s plea for a quick ruling on the president’s power to end special protections for so-called Dreamers, The Los Angeles Times reports.
The decision delivers a significant blow to the Trump administration, which argues that DACA is unconstitutional. It also keeps in place a legal shield for the nearly 700,000 young immigrants for the rest of this year, and perhaps longer.
The ruling comes just a week before a March 5 deadline set by President Trump for Congress to enact legislation to replace the program established by former President Obama. It allows immigrants who entered the country illegally as children to work and go to school in the United States.
The Justice Department had sought to bypass the U.S. appeals courts in California and New York. The department had asked for an “immediate review” of a nationwide order by U.S. District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco that required the government to maintain for now the Obama-era program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.
As noted by The Times, “The action the administration sought was rare. It has been nearly 30 years since the Supreme Court granted review of a district judge’s ruling before an appeals court could weigh in. And the court said Monday it had no interest in following that course in the DACA case.”
The justices, without dissent, turned down the administration’s petition “without prejudice,” meaning that the government could return to the high court once the appeals court rules.
The justices provided no further explanation for their decision. It takes four justices to agree to hear a case.
Congress has been unable to reach an agreement on a measure to replace Obama’s executive action and has just one full legislative day scheduled before the March 5 deadline.