Trump Administration Asks Supreme Court to Hear DACA Case

Alexander J. Segal's picture

On January 16, 2018, the Trump administration petitioned for a writ of certiorari before judgment in United States Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California [PDF version]. In this case, William J. Alsup, a judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, enjoined on several grounds the Trump Administration's efforts to wind down the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program [see blog]. As a result, and notwithstanding the DACA rescission memo, the Trump Administration has begun allowing certain DACA applications in compliance with the order [see blog].

Rather than waiting for Judge Alsup to render final judgment in the case or seeking a stay of the injunction from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the Government opted to ask the Supreme Court to take the case before judgment is granted. Seeking certiorari before judgment is rare, although not unprecedented. The Government is hoping that the Supreme Court will agree to hear the case and decide it this term (which ends in June). In a press release, Attorney General Jeff Sessions explained that the administration is “now taking the rare step of requesting direct review on the merits of this injunction by the Supreme Court so that this issue may be resolved quickly and fairly for all the parties involved” [PDF version].

In our articles on the injunction, we explained that the Government likely has a good chance of prevailing in the case. However, it is possible that intervening issues — such as legislation that addresses the issue — may prevent the DACA rescission case from being fully litigated. Although there are many uncertainties for DACA recipients, it is important to remind readers again that there is a potentially small window for certain individuals to apply for DACA, as detailed on site [see blog]. To learn about the DACA rescission and updates in the litigation of the issue, please see our comprehensive article on the subject [see article]. In the event that the Supreme Court grants cert and schedules oral arguments, we will examine the legal issues in the DACA case in more detail.