Supreme Court Notebook

Supreme Court declines to take up 'Dreamers' case for now

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court on Monday rejected the Trump administration's highly unusual bid to bypass a federals appeals court and get the justices to intervene in the fate of a program that protects hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from deportation.

The decision affecting "Dreamers" means the case will almost certainly have to work its way through the lower courts before any Supreme Court ruling is possible. And because that could take weeks or months, Monday's decision also is likely to further reduce pressure on Congress to act quickly on the matter.

The ruling on the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, wasn't unexpected.

Justice Department spokesman Devin O'Malley acknowledged that the court "very rarely" hears a case before a lower appeals court has considered it, though he said the administration's view was "it was warranted" in this case.

O'Malley said the administration would continue to defend the Homeland Security Department's "lawful authority to wind down DACA in an orderly manner."

DACA has provided protection from deportation and work permits for about 700,000 young people who came to the U.S. as children and stayed illegally.

Last fall, Trump argued that Obama had exceeded his executive powers when he created the program. Trump gave lawmakers until March 5 to send him legislation to renew the program.

But in recent weeks, federal judges in San Francisco and New York have made Trump's deadline temporarily moot. They've issued injunctions ordering the Trump administration to keep DACA in place while courts consider legal challenges to Trump's termination of the program.

The administration was fighting the judges' rulings in its appeal to the Supreme Court. Yet it has not tried to block the injunctions that force it to continue operating the program.

Congress has struggled to find consensus on the issue. The Senate stalemated on the matter two weeks ago, leaving any further congressional action in doubt.

The Supreme Court rarely hears a case before a lower appeals court has considered it. The fight over whether President Richard Nixon had to turn over the Watergate tapes is one such example.

Supreme Court rejects Trump ­administration appeal over ­immigration

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court is rejecting the Trump administration's highly unusual bid to get the justices to intervene in the controversy over protections for hundreds of thousands of young immigrants.

The justices on Monday refused to take up the administration's appeal of a lower court order that requires the administration to continue accepting renewal applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. What made the appeal unusual is that the administration sought to bypass the federal appeals court in San Francisco and go directly to the Supreme Court.

In a brief unsigned comment, the justices they assume "the court of appeals will proceed expeditiously to decide this case."

A judge in New York also has ruled in favor of immigrants challenging the end of DACA, and that case is expected to proceed to the federal appeals court in New York.

President Donald Trump had set March 5 as the end date for the DACA program. The court order says applications must be accepted indefinitely. DACA has provided protection from deportation and work permits for about 800,000 young people, many who were brought to the U.S. illegally.

It's unclear how the court's action Monday will affect efforts in Congress to come up with a legislative fix. The Senate recently failed to pass an immigration bill.

The Supreme Court rarely hears a case before a lower appeals court has considered it. The fight over whether President Richard Nixon had to turn over the Watergate tapes is one such example.

Supreme Court considers free speech vs. ­retaliatory arrests

MIAMI (AP) - A Florida man who already won an improbable victory before the U.S. Supreme Court is back with a First Amendment case pitting police powers of arrest against the right to speak freely and protest.

Oral arguments are scheduled Tuesday in Fane Lozman's lawsuit against the City of Riviera Beach, which is just north of West Palm Beach. Lozman contends he was wrongly prevented from speaking at a 2006 city council meeting through an arrest on bogus charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest that were later dropped.

Lozman in 2013 won a Supreme Court decision in a related case on whether the floating home he had docked at a Riviera Beach marina qualified as a vessel or a dwelling, like a home on land.

Spared ex-Texas death row inmate loses Supreme Court appeal

HOUSTON (AP) - The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to review an appeal from spared former Texas death row inmate Thomas Whitaker that questioned whether the state's use of a compounded version of the powerful sedative pentobarbital for executions would cause unconstitutional pain.

The high court Monday offered no comment on its decision refusing the civil rights lawsuit filed by Whitaker and another condemned prisoner, Perry Williams.

Whitaker last week won a rare clemency from Gov. Greg Abbott. An hour before Whitaker was scheduled for execution Thursday, Abbott agreed with the state parole board that his death sentence should be reduced. Whitaker now is serving life without parole.

Whitaker was convicted of arranging a plot that left his mother and brother fatally shot. His father, wounded in the attack, had urged the commutation.

Supreme Court to hear case where man can't ­remember killing

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case of a man sentenced to death for killing an Alabama police officer but who lawyers say now can't remember the 1985 murder.

The court agreed Monday to hear arguments in the case of Vernon Madison.

Madison had been scheduled to be executed in January, but the court stayed the execution to consider whether to take the case. Madison's case will now likely be argued in the fall, and the court's decision to take the case means he is safe from execution at least until the case is decided.

Madison's attorneys argue that strokes and dementia have left Madison unable to understand his execution or remember killing Mobile police Officer Julius Schulte, who had responded to a domestic disturbance call involving Madison.

Published: Tue, Feb 27, 2018

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