Today the Supreme Court begins hearing a case that tests the limits of Presidential power, examining the question of whether President Barack Obama’s decision to take executive action to protect millions of undocumented immigrants in the United States from the threat of deportation exceeded his constitutional authority.
The case is one of the most crucial that the court will hear in the current term, which comes to an end in June, and deals with the lawsuit against the President launched by 26 states headed by Texas, who are attempting to block the executive actions took in November 2014. Following the death of conservative judge Antonin Scalia in February, the court is now evenly split between four conservative judges and four liberal ones, raising the possibility of an even split that would result in the lower court ruling from last year that barred the executive actions from being implemented remaining in place.
The legal battle comes at a time when the US Presidential campaign is dominated by the issue of immigration, with the top contenders for the Republican Presidential candidate nomination dominated by those who would like to deport the entirety of the approximately 11 million people currently living illegally in the United States.
Republicans have been furious with Obama using executive action to circumvent Congress on the issue of immigration reform, and the states argue that his actions exceed his authority. The Supreme Court is expected to make its ruling before the end of June.