President Barack Obama’s plan to shield millions of undocumented immigrants is deadlocked after a 4-4 vote by the Supreme Court. Republican lawmakers have been steadfast in their refusal to vote on a ninth justice who will replace the recently deceased Antonin Scalia until after the presidential election, which effectively stops this issue dead in its tracks for the remainder of Obama’s Presidency.
Because of the 4-4 split, the decision by the appeals court which ruled the president had gone beyond his presidential powers will be upheld, thus stopping Obama’s executive actions until a ninth justice is appointed to the Supreme Court.
While the side the justices came down on were not disclosed, earlier arguments in April indicated the vote would be along ideological lines with the liberal wing – Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, Stephen Breyer, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg – siding with the president, while the conservative wing – Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, John Roberts, and Anthony Kennedy – siding against him. This decision is expected to intensify partisan bickering over the election, as the next president will appoint the justice who breaks the ideological tie on this case and numerous others.
Obama’s program would allow undocumented immigrants whose children are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents to avoid deportation for three years.
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President Obama said the program was merely a broad use of his deportation powers, but Republicans disagreed, calling it a way for Obama to offer “backdoor amnesty” for people who broke the law in order to enter the country.