WASHINGTON – Attorney General Jeff Sessions offered a harsh rebuke of the judiciary Tuesday, asserting that a barrage of court decisions that effectively blocked key parts of the Trump administration’s immigration policies smack of “judicial superiority.”
Citing at least 20 adverse rulings in the past year — from stalling President Trump’s travel ban to blocking an effort to end protections for undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children — Sessions said the decisions threatened to upend the guiding principle of the judiciary as an equal branch of the government.
“We’re not acting irrationally or emotionally,” Sessions told a gathering of the National Association of Attorneys General.
The attorney general specifically referred to the Supreme Court refusal Monday to review an order that the Trump administration continue a program protecting undocumented immigrants brought to the USA as children.
The denial leaves in place the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which has protected about 690,000 undocumented immigrants from deportation and enabled them to get work permits.
The program faced a deadline of March 5 for congressional action set by Trump last summer. Two federal courts ruled the administration’s action was illegal.
The Supreme Court justices could have agreed to hear the case this spring, leapfrogging a federal appeals court based in California that has been sympathetic to the cause of immigrants. They could have overruled federal District Judge William Alsup without a hearing.
Instead, they simply allowed the case to run its normal course through the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.
“It is assumed that the Court of Appeals will proceed expeditiously to decide this case,” the justices said in denying the Trump administration’s petition. The case still could come to the high court.
The action represents a temporary victory for the young adults brought to the USA illegally by their parents or guardians but sheltered under the DACA program established by President Obama in 2012. It’s a major setback for the Trump administration, which vowed to continue the legal battle in the lower courts.
By Kevin Jognson for USA TODAY
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