Nov 6, 2018

Trump administration asks Supreme Court for swift action on DACA

Photo: Leigh Vogel/WireImage

The Justice Department urged the Supreme Court on Monday to take up a legal battle over the Trump administration's attempt to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, despite lower courts having yet to rule on the legality of the effort.

The big picture: The administration has been trying to bypass lower-court rulings on some of President Trump’s signature policy proposals with the hope that the now conservative Supreme Court majority will help push his measures through. 

Yes, but: The Supreme Court appears to have noticed this trend.

  • On Friday, it declined a request to block a landmark youth climate lawsuit.
  • And in February, the high court rejected a petition to consider a DACA case in California before a federal court could weigh in.

The details: The DOJ argues that by the time the lower courts rule on the issue it might be too late to get the case on the Supreme Court's 2018-2019 docket. If so, that means the administration would have to keep the Obama-era program for at least another year.

  • Meanwhile, cases in California, New York, and Washington, D.C. are challenging the legality of Trump’s attempt to undo DACA, which protects unauthorized immigrants who came to the U.S. as children from deportation.

What they're saying: New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood was quick to call out the Justice Department, tweeting that the practice is "a remarkable lack of respect for the judicial process."

  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement that his agency "should not have been forced to make this filing today — the Ninth Circuit should have acted expeditiously, just as the Supreme Court expected them to do — but we will not hesitate to defend the Constitutional system of checks and balances vigorously and resolutely.”

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What's happening: Seven contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination were in Charleston, South Carolina, for the tenth debate, just days before the South Carolina primary and a week before Super Tuesday. They spoke, sometimes over each other, about health care, Russian interference in the election, foreign policy the economy, gun control, marijuana, education, and race.

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4 takeaways from the South Carolina debate

Former Vice President Joe Biden, right, makes a point during Tuesday's Democratic presidential debate, while Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders listens. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The 10th Democratic debate was billed as the most consequential of the primary thus far, but Tuesday night's high-stakes affair was at times awkward and unfocused as moderators struggled to rein in candidates desperate to make one last splash before Saturday's primary in South Carolina and Super Tuesday.

The big picture: After cementing himself as the Democratic favorite with a sweeping win in Nevada, Sen. Bernie Sanders came under fire as the front-runner for the first time on the debate stage. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who will be on the ballot for the first time next Tuesday, was a progressive foil once again, but he appeared more prepared after taking a drubbing at the Nevada debate.