The Supreme Court turned down the effort of the Trump Administration to circumvent the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and hear the challenge over the termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The decision not to grant review is clearly a victory for challengers of the Trump policy but it is also important not to read too much into the decision given the procedural posture of the appeal. Notably, on Tuesday the Supreme Court ruled in another immigration case and adopted the type of narrow interpretation sought by the Administration in the DACA litigation. In its decision in Jennings v. Rodriguez, the Court overturned the Ninth Circuit and rejected the right to twice-a-year bond hearings. Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr ruled that “[t]he meaning of the relevant statutory provisions is clear—and clearly contrary to the decision of the Court of Appeals.”
There is growing unease over district courts issuing national injunctions on such policies but that issue as well as the merits will have to be first addressed by the Supreme Court.
The irregularity of leap-frogging over an appellate court is clearly the primary reason for the declination by the Supreme Court. It has been 14 years since the Court last allowed such an expedition. The justices are unlikely to view this circumstance as particularly pressing. Congress and the President have stated an interest in solving this issue with new legislation — reforms that would moot this case. Moreover, the only cost is that these individuals may be extended in their time in the United States even if no solution is found. That is balanced against the loss of an opinion from the Ninth Circuit, which makes for a better informed and supported review (assuming the Court ultimately grants cert).
Notably, the Court stated “It is assumed that the Court of Appeals will proceed expeditiously” to decide the case, U.S. Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California.