In September, the Trump administration announced that it would shut down the DACA program on March 5. Since then, two federal judges have ordered the administration to maintain major components of the program while legal challenges move forward. In January, Judge William H. Alsup of the Federal District Court in San Francisco ruled that the administration had abused its discretion and had acted arbitrarily and capriciously in rescinding the program, and earlier this month, Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis of the Federal District Court in Brooklyn issued a similar ruling.
As expected, the Trump administration promptly appealed Judge Alsup’s ruling to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, and that court put the appeal on a fast track. In an unusual move, however, the administration also asked the Supreme Court to grant immediate review, a rarely used procedure that if granted would completely bypass the appeals court. The procedure itself is called “certiorari before judgment,” and it is hardly ever used and almost always denied. So how did the Supreme Court respond?
In a major blow to the Trump administration, the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of Judge Alsup’s ruling, a decision that currently prohibits the government from shutting down the DACA program. DACA was set to end on March 5, but the Court’s denial leaves the program in place for the time being and protects hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants from deportation.
The Court’s denial was somewhat expected, as no appeals court has yet to rule on the issue, but the case could still reach the Supreme Court. In declining to hear the appeal, the Court has just simply allowed the case to run its normal course through the judiciary. Once the appeals court issues a ruling, the Trump administration could then appeal to the Supreme Court and the fate of the Dreamers would once again come into question.