In a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court prevented the Trump administration from ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program as an "arbitrary and capricious" change. Chief Justice John Roberts, along with the four liberal judges, ruled that Trump's decision violated the Administrative Procedures Act. It was another self-inflicted wound due to poorly implemented policy changes in this area. The decision is based on procedural errors, not on the merits or the underlying authority.
Chief Justice John Roberts was accompanied by Judges Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor. The majority decided that
“The agency did not take into account the conspicuous questions of whether indulgence should be maintained and what, if anything, should be done to combat the plight of DACA recipients. This double failure raises doubts as to whether the Agency has recognized the extent of its discretion or has exercised that discretion in an appropriate manner. It is therefore appropriate to contact the DHS so that it can review the problem again. "
In contrast, Justice Clarence Thomas, along with Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch, wrote that such mistakes were irrelevant because the underlying policy on the face was illegal. "
"Under the auspices of today's decision, administrations can bind their successors by illegally adopting significant legal changes through memoranda from executive agencies. Even if the agency was not authorized to make the changes, the changes cannot be reversed by the same agency in a successor administration, unless the successor provides sufficient political reasons to the satisfaction of this court. In other words, the majority mistakenly believe that the agency is not only entitled but also obliged to continue to manage illegal programs that it inherited from previous administration. "
I find the most interesting PART IV, in which Roberts was only supported by three judges (omitted by Justice Sotomayor). This section declined to use President Trump's public statements as evidence of racial anus. Language refuses to trust the lower courts, especially the Ninth Circle.
None of these points, individually or together, establish a plausible claim for equal protection. First, since Latinos make up a large portion of the unauthorized foreign population, one would expect them to make up an overwhelming proportion of recipients of a comprehensive immigration aid program. … If this fact were sufficient to make a claim, practically any general immigration policy could be challenged for the same protection.
Second, the story is not irregular until the resignation in September 2017. The lower courts came to the conclusion that "DACA received confirmation from (DHS) only three months before resignation", 908 F. 3d, 519 (cited 298 F. Supp. 3d, 1315), with reference to the DAPA Withdrawal from June 2017 memo stating that DACA would "remain in force", App. 870. However, this reasoning confuses abstention with renewed confirmation. The DAPA memo did not address the merits of the DACA directive or its legality. When the Attorney General later found that DACA shared DAPA's legal deficiencies, the DHS decision to reassess DACA was not a "strange U-turn". 908 F. 3d, at 519. It was a natural answer to a newly identified problem.
Finally, the statements cited are not revealing. The relevant actors were most directly the acting Secretary Herzog and the Attorney General. As the Batalla Vidal court confirmed, respondents identified "no (y) statements from (either) that would lead to a discriminatory motive." 291 F. Supp. 3d, 278. Instead, respondents claim that President Trump has made critical statements about Latinos that show discriminatory intentions. But even if these statements are interpreted by the respondents – far away in time and made in unrelated contexts – they are not considered "contemporary statements" that are conclusive for the decision in question. Arlington Heights, 429 U.S., 268. Like the other points of the respondents, the statements therefore do not allow a plausible conclusion that the resignation was motivated by Animus.
The decision is already misrepresented as a decision in the matter or as a rejection of the underlying illegality claims. It is not.
Here is the opinion: Department of Homeland Security against Regents of the University of California