Supreme Court blocks Obama immigration plan in 4-4 tie

Posted at 9:39 AM, Jun 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-23 16:59:44-04

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A tie vote by the Supreme Court is blocking President Barack Obama's immigration plan that sought to shield millions living in the U.S. illegally from deportation.

Not long after the decision was announced, President Barack Obama made a statement predicting that the U.S. immigration system will eventually be overhauled.

He says it's not a matter of "if," but a matter of "when."

The justices' one-sentence opinion on Thursday effectively kills the plan for the duration of Obama's presidency.

A tie vote sets no national precedent but leaves in place the ruling by the lower court. In this case, the federal appeals court in New Orleans said the Obama administration lacked the authority to shield up to 4 million immigrants from deportation and make them eligible for work permits without approval from Congress.

Texas led 26 Republican-dominated states in challenging the program Obama announced in November 2014. Congressional Republicans also backed the states' lawsuit.

Senator James Lankford sent a statement regarding the decision saying "President Obama’s plan to change immigration law unilaterally is a clear overstep of our nation’s founding principle—the separation of powers. Congress has the sole authority to write laws and, today, the Supreme Court’s decision underscores the importance of the equal distribution of powers between three equal branches of government. The President cannot pick and choose which laws he likes and which he does not like. Immigration policy is too important for any president to just make it up as they go."

U.S Senator Jim Inhofe also sent a statement saying “Another day, another court blocks the president’s executive overreach that violates our immigration laws put in place by Congress. The president overstepped his legal authority when he used his pen and phone to grant amnesty to roughly 5 million illegal immigrants. The Supreme Court’s decision is a win for Congress, the separation of power, and the rule of law. I will continue to monitor this case as it progresses on the merits and I believe that the judicial system will see these actions for what they are – unconstitutional. We have immigration laws in place that allow people to find a home in America, as an American. I’ve long supported and fought for those who are working to come here to find a better life for themselves and their families through the proper, legal process. This process was established by Congress to protect our nation and our society as well as to protect those who are looking to immigrate here. Our laws need to be enforced and respected. The divided ruling from SCOTUS underscores the need for the balance of the court to be decided by the next president and by a Republican. President Obama is eager to stack the highest court to uphold not only this illegal executive action, but the many more that have been or are being challenged in the courts. This election is not just about the next four years, but about the next generation of Americans and our way of life.”