The Supreme Court has decided not to hear President Donald Trump's appeal of a ruling that has allowed part of an Obama-era program protecting young undocumented immigrants to stay in effect, at least for now.
The underlying issue was whether the Trump administration could circumvent an appeals court over a recent order that has allowed elements of President Barack Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to remain in place, according to Bloomberg. Although Trump had rescinded Obama's program protecting undocumented immigrants who had been brought to the United States as children, U.S. District Judge William H. Alsup issued an order on Jan. 9 that allowed them to continue benefiting from DACA (which shields them from deportation and applying for work permits) as a lawsuit against Trump's policy continues. Alsup also argued that the Department of Homeland Security was wrong to end DACA, since it did so based on the "flawed legal premise" that Obama didn't have the authority to establish the program.
Trump's Department of Justice protested this ruling on the grounds that it "requires the government to sanction indefinitely an ongoing violation of federal law being committed by nearly 700,000 aliens."
Instead of taking a side in this debate, the Supreme Court in effect determined that the case needed to go through the proper channels. While the normal course of action would have indeed been for the Trump administration to wait for the appeals court's decision before going to the Supreme Court, the administration argued that the importance of DACA's fate was such that it warranted an expedited process.
The Supreme Court seemed to agree that the legal process should move quickly, although they were unwilling to bypass a lower court in order to do so.
"It is assumed that the Court of Appeals will proceed expeditiously to decide this case," the Supreme Court explained, as part of a two sentence order.
A spokesman for the Justice Department responded to the ruling by saying that the Trump administration "will continue to defend DHS’s lawful authority to wind down DACA in an orderly manner."
As a legal editor for BuzzFeed explained, however, this doesn't mean that the Supreme Court won't ultimately side with Trump on the issue.