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Hundreds of people gather outside the U.S. Supreme Court to rally in support of the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Supreme Court justices appeared divided on Tuesday over whether the Trump administration properly rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, an Obama-era policy that allows unauthorized immigrants brought to the U.S. as children to remain and work in the country.

The big picture: Liberal justices questioned whether the administration clearly explained why it ended DACA — beyond claiming it to be illegal — and the impact of ending it. Conservative justices seemed skeptical about whether the courts have the authority to review the decision at all.

Why it matters: This is just the beginning. A decision is expected by the end of June, and it will affect hundreds of thousands of lives, American businesses and communities.

  • Meanwhile outside the courtroom, hundreds of protestors marched and chanted, "Home is here," holding signs that called for the protection of "Dreamers."

Inside, conservative justices questioned the challengers on why the Trump administration's decision to end DACA fell under judicial review.

  • Even if the court were to decide that the Trump administration ended DACA by wrongfully citing its illegality and by failing to adequately consider the broad consequences, Chief Justice John Roberts asked the challengers how much more reasoning and analysis the government would need to add.
  • And what would be the point in delaying the end of the program, justices asked, if the Trump administration can simply reword its rescission of DACA and go through with it anyway.

Liberal judges stressed the significant impact that ending DACA would have on individuals, businesses and communities. They questioned whether the government adequately accounted for the factors in its decision, as required, and took clear responsibility for the potential impacts.

And where is the political decision made clearly? That this is not about the law; this is about our choice to destroy lives.
— Justice Sonia Sotomayor to Solicitor General Noel Francisco
  • Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg was the first to question U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco, asking how the administration can say it is within agencies' discretion to end DACA — and that the courts cannot interfere — while also claiming the program was ended because it was found to be illegal.

What to watch: The Justice Department made clear they don't want the Supreme Court to rule on the legality of the DACA program, but instead on whether the administration followed the legally required steps and whether courts have the authority to intervene at all.

Between the lines: Supreme Court beat reporters from the New York Times and NBC News assess that based on their questions, the five conservative justices seem inclined to rule in favor of the Trump administration.

Go deeper: What's at stake as DACA reaches the Supreme Court

Go deeper

3 hours ago - Health

FDA advisory panel recommends Pfizer boosters for those 65 and older

A healthcare worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the Key Biscayne Community Center on Aug. 24, 2021. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A key Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Friday overwhelmingly voted against recommending Pfizer vaccine booster shots for younger Americans, but unanimously recommended approving the third shots for individuals 65 and older, as well as those at high-risk of severe COVID-19.

Why it matters: While the votes are non-binding, and the FDA must still make a final decision, Friday's move pours cold water on the Biden administration's plan to begin administering boosters to most individuals who received the Pfizer vaccine later this month.

3 hours ago - World

France recalls ambassadors from U.S. and Australia over submarine deal

Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L), French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (C), and French ambassador to the U.S. Philippe Etienne. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

France has taken the extraordinary step of recalling its ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia after both countries blindsided their French allies with a new military pact and submarine contract, the French Foreign Ministry announced on Friday.

The backstory: While sealing an agreement with the U.S. and U.K. to acquire nuclear submarines, Australia ripped up an existing $90 billion submarine deal with France. That led senior French officials to accuse the U.S. of a "stab in the back."

Updated 4 hours ago - World

In reversal, Pentagon now says drone strike killed 10 Afghan civilians

Caskets for the dead are carried towards the gravesite as relatives and friends attend a mass funeral for members of a family that is said to have been killed in a U.S. drone airstrike, in Kabul on Aug. 30. Photo: Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A U.S. drone strike launched on Aug. 29 killed 10 civilians in Afghanistan, including seven children, rather than the Islamic State extremists the Biden administration claimed it targeted, the Pentagon said Friday.

Why it matters: U.S. Central Command said at the time that officials "know" the drone strike "disrupted an imminent ISIS-K threat" to Kabul's airport, and that they were "confident we successfully hit the target."