The Obama administration made a last-ditch attempt on Monday, to revive the plan by President Barack Obama preventing the deportation of around four million undocumented immigrants, by asking the Supreme Court to rehear the case, after it remained blocked due to a 4/4 split on the decision last month.
The high court ruling, on 23 June, meant that a ruling by a lower court blocking the immigration plan from ever being implemented remains in place. Following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, in February, the court is presently short of one justice.
The Justice Department has filed for the Supreme Court to re-examine the case when it once again has nine justices. But with the Senate, which is controlled by the Republican Party, having refused to act on the nominee put forth by the President, appeals court judge Merrick Garland, it is uncertain when that is likely to be. Even if one is appointed and the request is granted by the Supreme Court, a further ruling is unlikely before January, when Obama will be leaving the White House.
Ian Gershengorn, the Acting Solicitor General, admits that it is rare for the high court to hear cases a second time but insists that the immigration case is unique because the issue would not be able to be resolved by the court with a different case in the future if the President’s plan is conclusively blocked.