In somewhat of a surprise, the New York Times reports that President Obama Won’t Take Immigration Case to Supreme Court Yet:
In a statement on Wednesday, officials from the Justice Department said they would not ask the Supreme Court to reverse this week’s decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit that continues to block the president’s immigration actions.
The statement said the department was committed to defending the president’s actions and getting the immigration programs in place with certainty.
“The department believes the best way to achieve this goal is to focus on the ongoing appeal on the merits of the preliminary injunction itself,” said Patrick Rodenbush, a spokesman for the Justice Department. “Although the department continues to disagree with the Fifth Circuit’s refusal to stay the district court’s preliminary injunction, the department has determined that it will not seek a stay from the Supreme Court.”
The president’s executive actions, which would have blocked deportation and provided work permits to millions of undocumented immigrants, have been on hold since a Texas judge ordered a halt, calling it an executive overreach and saying it violated the government’s administrative procedures.
Rather than continue to fight to overturn the judge’s blocking order, administration officials said Wednesday that government lawyers would wait and make what they believe will be a stronger argument on the merits of the president’s immigration program.
Those oral arguments before the Fifth Circuit are scheduled to begin during the week of July 6, and administration officials expressed confidence that they would eventually succeed in defending Mr. Obama’s authority to overhaul the immigration system.
I can’t fault the legal strategy. The stay order has become a distraction from the more important case on the merits at this point. The Fifth Circuit is likely to rule fairly quickly on the merits case, and that opinion and order will be appealed by the losing side to the U.S. Supreme Court regardless.