Chief Justice John Roberts may have signaled Monday that the Obama administration could be facing a bitter loss when the Supreme Court rules on the president’s executive amnesty. Roberts, who has disappointed conservatives in recent years with his rulings on gay marriage and Obamacare, appeared critical of the administration’s arguments when the case came before the court this week.
After listening to Solicitor General Donald Verrilli give an impassioned speech about Obama’s presidential authority, Roberts asked, “Could the president grant deferred removal to every unlawfully present alien in the United States right now?”
Verrilli mumbled something about statutory constraints, an answer that would seem to beg the question of where exactly those constraints lie. Because for this president – as Roberts appeared to be thinking – they don’t exist at all.
The heart of the matter before the court is not the constitutionality of Obama’s actions, though, but whether Texas and 25 other states have standing to sue the administration for damages. However, there is plenty of precedent for the Supreme Court to go beyond the scope of a case in order to make a landmark ruling. The chances of that happening here are slim due to the 4-4 split along ideological lines, of course.
Still, Roberts did offer conservatives some hope, characterizing the administration’s program as having put Texas in a “catch-22.” Verrilli said that Texas, which is claiming that producing driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants would be a financial burden, could merely change state law to counter Obama.
“You would sue them instantly,” Roberts said.
Verrilli admitted that was likely so, but he said it was enough that Texas might feasibly be successful in the suit.
Roberts said that if Texas had a choice between a financial burden and being sued by the federal government, it was a pretty clear indication that they had standing to sue.
Immigration activists are watching the case closely, of course, but the media is not quite so pro-Obama as it used to be. Suddenly, several reliably-liberal pundits are out there expressing alarm about the unrestricted power of the president. Gee, if Obama can do this, what would Ted Cruz do in the Oval Office? Maybe we oughta think about limiting executive actions, you guys…
Well, even if it comes from the most cynical of places, it’s always nice to see liberals touch ground with reality once in a while.