DACA Filings and the Terms’s First Opinion

On Monday the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) made a rare request of the Supreme Court. The department filed a petition for a writ of certiorari before judgment in the case U.S. Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California, which the Ninth U.S Circuit Court of Appeals is currently deciding. That court heard oral arguments May 15.

In the lawsuit, the challengers argue that the Trump administration acted “capriciously and arbitrarily” in ending DACA (“Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). DACA is a program the Obama administration implemented that defers deportation of immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children.

This petition was the second such filing the Department has filed made in this case. DOJ filed a similar petition in January after U.S. District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco issued a temporary injunction halting the Trump administration’s dismantling of the program. The Supreme Court denied that request, indicating that it believed that the lower court would “proceed expeditiously to decide this case.” The department in its newer petition has emphasized this order from the Supreme Court and noted that the lower court has not yet ruled in the case.

DOJ has not been shy about filing unusual requests with the Supreme Court. Last week, the Washington Post published an op-ed criticizing this trend.

In other news, Justice Ginsburg issued the first opinion of the term on Tuesday, November 6th. This marks the third consecutive Term in which Justice Ginsburg wrote the inaugural opinion. In the 8-0 opinion (Justice Kavanaugh had not joined the Court when parties argued the case October 1) the Court held that Age Discrimination in Employment Act prohibits age discrimination by state and local governments regardless of their number of employees. The case was brought by firefighters John Guido and Dennis Rankin. The Mount Lemmon Fire District in Arizona laid off the two men, who, at ages 46 and 55, were its oldest.

Justice Ginsburg found unpersuasive the fire district’s argument that applying the law to small political subdivisions could risk vital public services. The Justice noted that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has consistently interpreted the ADEA for three decades as the Court did Tuesday, and most states prohibit age discrimination by political subdivisions of all sizes and “…No untoward service shrinkages have been documented.”

This post was written by ISCOTUS Fellow Bridget Flynn, Chicago-Kent Class of 2019, edited by Matthew Webber, ISCOTUS Editorial Coordinator, Chicago-Kent Class of 2019, and overseen by ISCOTUS Co-Director Carolyn Shapiro.

 

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