DAPA Case Argued Before the U.S. Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument April 18, 2016 on the Obama administration’s appeal of a decision that halted implementation of the President’s Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program and the expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The case, United States v. Texas, is being closely watched across the nation, not only for how it may impact immigration law, but also because it addresses the limits of executive power. More details on these executive actions are available in the MurthyDotCom NewsBrief, Feds Ask Supreme Court to Lift Injunction on DAPA and Expanded DACA Programs (07.Dec.2015).

Parties Involved

The Obama administration has been joined by a group of undocumented women, represented by lawyers from the MexicanAmerican Legal Defense and Education Fund, to argue against the injunction, and in favor of the legality of DAPA and the expansion of DACA. In opposition to these executive actions is the State of Texas, which has been joined by a coalition of twenty-five other states.

Oral Arguments

Based on the oral arguments made, it appears that the court is split along ideological lines. The more left-leaning justices appeared to be unconvinced that the states would suffer a clear injury if these programs were implemented – and, without an “injury in fact,” the lawsuit brought by the states would have to be dismissed for lack of legal standing. The more conservative judges, on the other hand, seemed to signal some support for the arguments made by the states. A full transcript of the oral arguments is available online.

Possible Split Court

Following the death of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, the Supreme Court has been left with only eight Justices. This opens the possibility of the court being evenly split in trying to decide the case. If that occurs, the decision of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld the injunction issued on DAPA and the expanded DACA programs, will stand.


The Justices take time to consider all cases before the Supreme Court, and to prepare detailed written opinions. Thus, the ruling in United States v. Texas is not expected before June 2016. MurthyDotCom will post an update once the ruling is released.


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