WASHINGTON — In its next term, the Supreme Court will examine if the Trump administration illegally tried to end a program that protects young adults brought to the U.S. as minors without documentation.
The court announced in a June 28 order that it will consolidate three cases on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, in its term that begins in October.
President Donald Trump has been wanting the high court to overturn appellate court rulings that have kept in place the DACA program initiated by President Barack Obama in 2012, which has protected nearly 700,000 people brought to this country as children, commonly known as “Dreamers.”
Without action from the high court, the lower court rulings have been kept it in place, blocking the president’s effort to end DACA, which he ordered in 2017 when then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions called DACA “an unconstitutional exercise of authority.”
Although qualifying DACA recipients do not get legal status, they receive a work permit and get a reprieve from deportation and other temporary relief.
Federal judges who have blocked ending the program have said the Trump administration needs to provide a clear explanation of why the program should end.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2017 called the cancellation of DACA “reprehensible” and said it caused “unnecessary fear for DACA youth and their families.” The USCCB, along with several Catholic groups, organizations and religious orders, have since then called for a solution to help these young adults.
Also in its announcements of future cases, the Supreme Court said it will not consider a lower court ruling blocking an abortion law in Alabama that would ban the most common method of second-trimester abortions.
Alabama was one in a group of states that had proposed criminalizing the dilation and evacuation procedure used in almost all abortions performed at 15 weeks of pregnancy and later. With the high court’s order, the lower court’s ruling stands, preventing the state from enforcing the law.
Justice Clarence Thomas, the only justice who commented on the order, said the case “serves as a stark reminder that our abortion jurisprudence has spiraled out of control,” but he added that the Alabama case did not “present the opportunity to address our demonstrably erroneous ‘undue burden’ standard” which refers to any obstacle preventing a woman from obtaining an abortion.
He wrote that because of the ”’undue burden’ standard adopted by this court, a restriction on abortion — even one limited to prohibiting gruesome methods — is unconstitutional if ‘the purpose or effect of the provision is to place a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion before the fetus attains viability.'”
In another June 28 order, the Supreme Court said a lower court had to review a ruling it made against a historic World War II-era cross in Pensacola, Florida, based on the high court’s recent decision upholding another cross monument in Bladensburg, Maryland.
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Follow Zimmermann on Twitter: @carolmaczim