The federal judge’s ruling Tuesday that President Obama’s deportation amnesty is unconstitutional is already playing out in other court cases, with two different challengers to the new policies telling their judges to pay attention to the Pennsylvania decision.
Both Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio filed papers late Tuesday night in their respective challenges to Mr. Obama’s amnesty, saying the Pennsylvania judge’s ruling adds heft to their own attacks.
“Given that one federal court already has concluded that the DHS director is unconstitutional, plaintiffs respectfully request that this court preserve the status quo and the full panoply of remedial options by scheduling a preliminary injunction hearing and enjoining the directive,” Mr. Abbott wrote in a brief bringing the decision by Judge Arthur J. Schwab to the attention of the federal court in Brownsville, Texas.
Larry Klayman, the lawyer for Mr. Arpaio, also entered the Pennsylvania decision into his case in Washington, D.C., citing it as a “supplemental authority” for the court to rely on. The D.C. court has scheduled a hearing on issuing a preliminary injunction next week.
The Justice Department didn’t respond Tuesday to the shock ruling from Judge Schwab, who held that Mr. Obama acted unconstitutionally and usurped Congress’s power when he announced his new amnesty.
In court papers filed in the D.C. case earlier this week, the Justice Department argued that the president wasn’t rewriting the law, but rather was issuing policies to carry it out, albeit with limited resources. The administration also said the courts don’t have the power to get involved, since the administration is using discretionary powers.
“Federal courts sit to decide cases and controversies, not to resolve disagreements about policy or politics,” said Joyce R. Branda, the acting assistant attorney general who took the lead on filing the brief.
But Judge Schwab rejected many of the administration’s arguments in the Pennsylvania case, ruling that because Mr. Obama set up a system for proactively granting amnesty, it amounted to a rewrite of the law.
Judge Schwab’s case dealt with a single illegal immigrant, and the judge did not halt all of Mr. Obama’s policy.
But the Texas and Washington court challenges are broader, and apply to the new policy as a whole.