The last-ditch attempt by President Barack Obama to protect over four million undocumented immigrants from being deported by taking his blocked executive action to the Supreme Court goes before that Court next week, but it may not be the end of the fight if the eight justices end up in a tie.
A tie vote would result in victory for the 26 states, led by Texas, that have so far prevented the deferred action programs from going ahead since they were first announced in November 2014, but could also result in new legal battles. Those cities and states who agree with the executive action could attempt to launch their own fights against the national injunction.
American Immigration Lawyers Association president and immigration attorney David Leopold says that a tie would result in a “judicial mess” that would cause chaos in courtrooms across the United States. On the other hand, even if the Supreme Court overturns the injunction and deems the President’s actions to be legal, there is still no guarantee the program would get very far if a Republican such as Ted Cruz or Donald Trump were to win the White House later this year. A new President could end the program in 2017 and cause further battles between the federal government and the states.
Former federal judge Michael McConnell, the head of Stanford Law School’s Constitutional Law Center, warns that a Supreme Court ruling in favor of Obama would result in Presidents no longer needing to go to Congress in order to change the law.