The Trump administration managed to score a win before the Supreme Court on Friday. The Court decided the issue of an emergency stay on an order that came from San Francisco based U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup.
Judge Alsup issued an order connected to five current cases that are pending related to the Trump administration’s end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
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The order demanded the federal government turn over all documents related to legal analysis, studies and other materials connected with the decision-making process that led to the ending of DACA.
While Friday’s decision is a definite win for the President, it is not a final decision. The Court granted a temporary stay of the order while they decide if they will permanently block Judge Alsup’s order.
Friday’s decision to grant the temporary stay was closely decided. In a 5-4 decision, all Republican nominees to the Court voted in favor of the stay with all 4 Justices appointed by Democrats dissenting.
The dissenting Justices joined in a 10-page opinion written by Justice Stephen Breyer. In that dissenting opinion, Justice Breyer argued that:
“The Government’s arguments do not come close to carrying the heavy burden that the Government bears in seeking such extraordinary relief.”
The arguments to which Justice Breyer referred were made by the Justice Department and included the argument that the demand for documentation placed an undue strain on the Department of Homeland Security that would have to sift through over a million documents.
An additional, and perhaps more troubling, argument made by the administration was that the release of the documents would somehow hinder the executive branch’s ability to seek advice.
Justice Breyer wrote:
“Judicial review cannot function if the agency is permitted to decide unilaterally what documents it submits to the reviewing court as the administrative record.”
Justice Breyer continued in the joint dissent saying:
“Effective review depends upon the administrative record containing all relevant materials presented to the agency, including not only materials supportive of the government’s decision but also materials contrary to the government’s decision.”
In cases of an emergency stay, it is typical for the majority not to provide an explanation for their choice. While the Court majority may have remained silent, Department of Justice spokesman Devin O’Malley said:
“The Department of Justice is pleased with the Supreme Court’s decision today putting on hold the district court’s overreach.”
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