Supreme Court to meet behind closed doors Thursday to discuss DACA

The Supreme Court signaled on Monday that it would meet behind closed doors Thursday to discuss whether to take up a case for next term concerning the phase out of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, an Obama-era program that protects young undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children from deportation.

The nation’s high court has sat for weeks on the government’s request to reverse lower court opinions that have blocked the Trump administration’s attempts to rescind the program known as DACA.

The news that the justices have decided to at least discuss the case at their regularly scheduled conference suggests that there may be some appetite to take up the case next term, which could mean that a decision would be rendered during the heart of the 2020 presidential campaign.

“Twenty months ago, DHS determined, in accordance with the views of the Attorney General that DACA, a discretionary policy of immigration non-enforcement, was unlawful, ill-advised, and should be discontinued,” Solicitor General Noel Francisco argued in briefs filed last week with the Supreme Court.

On May 17, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals became the latest lower court to rule against the White House. A panel of judges held that the administration’s decision to rescind the program was “arbitrary and capricious” under federal law, in part, because the Department of Homeland Security “failed to give a reasoned explanation” for the change in policy.

Attorney General William Barr lamented earlier in the month that lower courts have stepped in to block the President’s actions, arguing that “nationwide injunctions have frustrated presidential policy for most of the President’s term with no clear end in sight.”

In a speech before the American Law Institute in Washington, DC, Barr noted that the Supreme Court has not acted on the requests “and they languish on the conference docket.”

“Unless the court acts quickly and decisively, we are unlikely to see a decision before mid-2020 at the earliest — that is, right before the next election,” Barr said.

This story has been updated.