Obama: Court ruling won’t end immigration debate

By: Gregory Korte, USA TODAY

President Obama

 

WASHINGTON — President Obama all but conceded defeat on immigration Thursday following a Supreme Court decision that kept his executive actions on hold, saying it’s unlikely he’ll be able to accomplish his goal of giving millions of immigrants semi-legal status by the end of his presidency.

Obama called the Supreme Court’s deadlock a setback that “takes us further from the country we aspire to be.” But he also predicted that an overhaul the immigration system would come eventually.”Congress isn’t able to ignore America forever,” he said.

Obama spoke following the Supreme Court’s 4-4 deadlock in a closely watched case that considered whether the president has the power to delay deportations of millions of immigrants who don’t have the legal authority to be in the United States.

The unusual Supreme Court tie vote — caused by the vacancy created by Senate Republicans’ refusal to confirm a replacement for the late Justice Antonin Scalia — means that a lower court ruling stands. That decision held that states have standing to sue the federal government over the executive actions, and put important parts of Obama’s immigration plan on hold.

The Obama administration has deployed more border agents to the southern border, and Obama said he’s cut illegal border crossings to their lowest levels since 1970s. But he lamented that success on that front did not break the logjam in Congress over an immigration reform package.

“It is heartbreaking for millions of immigrants who made their lives here, who raised families here,” Obama said.

Obama promised that little would change for most immigrants, saying his administration would continue to consider long-term unauthorized immigrants a low priority for deportation. “What is unaffected by today’s ruling, or lack of a ruling, are the enforcement priorities we put in place,” he said. “As long as you have not committed a crime, our limited law enforcement resources are not focused on you.”

But the decision means that immigrant families will not be eligible for get work authorizations and government benefits. Obama said he’s not considering any more executive actions on the issue before the end of his presidency.

Obama also used the occasion to once again call on the Republican- controlled Senate to confirm his nominee for a vacancy to the Supreme Court, which would provide for a more definitive — and likely Obama-friendly — decision.

“The court’s inability to reach a decision in this case is a very clear reminder of why it’s so important for the Supreme Court to have a full bench.”

Obama did praise a separate decision upholding affirmative action in college admissions. “We are not a country that guarantees equal outcomes, but we do strive to provide an equal shot to everyone, and that;s what the Supreme Court upheld today,” Obama said.

 

Supreme Court blocks challenge to ‘one person, one vote’ in key voting rights case

Written By Desire Thompson, NBC News

The Supreme Court ruled unanimously that districts will continue to use total population instead of voter population to determine legislative redistricting in Texas, maintaining fair voting rights for the state’s large Latino population. According to NBC News, the decision was made Monday after Sue Evenwel and Edward Pfenninger argued that only eligible voters should be counted, which can harm large urban communities consisting of non-voters and children, but benefit large districts with conservative and rural voters.
The ruling, signed with an opinion by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, was supported by Justices John Roberts, Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer and Anthony Kennedy. Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas concurred but drew their own notes on the ‘one person, one vote’ law.
“In a concurring opinion, one of the Supreme Court’s conservatives, Justice Alito, said Monday’s decision holds only that states are not required to count total population. The ruling does not bar states from instead counting the voting population, which he called “an important and sensitive question that we can consider if and when” such a case comes before the court.”
The historic “one person, one vote” view has been seen as a clear way to treat voters equally across districts. If the argument was supported, large states like Texas, New York, California, New Jersey, Arizona and Nevada would have seen the largest changes in voting rights.
The ruling is also a win for liberals who have supported total population voting. Ginsburg explained that those not eligible to vote need representation and the 14th amendment is permitted as a foundation for drawing districts.
“Nonvoters have an important stake in many policy debates—children, their parents, even their grandparents, for example, have a stake in a strong public-education system—and in receiving constituent services, such as help navigating public-benefits bureaucracies,” Ginsburg wrote, “By ensuring that each representative is subject to requests and suggestions from the same number of constituents, total population apportionment promotes equitable and effective representation.”
“Adopting voter-eligible apportionment as constitutional command would upset a well-functioning approach to districting that all 50 States and countless local jurisdictions have followed for decades, even centuries,” Ginsburg wrote. “Appellants have shown no reason for the Court to disturb this longstanding use of total population.”

No breakthrough in Supreme Court dispute between Obama, Republicans

By Ayesha Rascoe, Reuters

U.S. President Obama meets with the bipartisan leaders of the Senate to discuss the Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of Justice Scalia, at the White House in Washington

U.S. President Barack Obama (3rd R) meets with the bipartisan leaders of the Senate to discuss the Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, at the White House in Washington March 1, 2016. From L-R: Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Vice President Joe Biden, Obama, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA). REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

U.S. President Barack Obama (3rd R) meets with the bipartisan leaders of the Senate to discuss the Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, at the White House in Washington March 1, 2016.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republican leaders of the Senate on Tuesday rebuffed President Barack Obama’s appeal for hearings and a vote on his U.S. Supreme Court nominee during a face-to-face meeting that failed to budge them from their vow to block any nominee he offers.
Obama, planning to name a replacement for the late Justice Antonin Scalia in the coming weeks, huddled with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley in the White House Oval Office for less than an hour.”Senator Grassley and I made it clear that we don’t intend to take up a nominee or to have a hearing,” McConnell told reporters after the meeting.
The meeting failed to produce any progress on how to proceed with finding a replacement for Scalia, a long-serving conservative justice who died on Feb. 13.
McConnell and Grassley are insistent that Obama not pick a nominee and leave the decision to his successor, who takes office next January after the Nov. 8 U.S. presidential election. Obama is insistent that it is the Republican-led Senate’s constitutional duty to act on his nominee.
“They made clear in their meeting with the president that they’re not going to change their mind just because the president says so,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said of the Republicans.