Texas Judge’s Use of Administrative Law as Basis for Temporary Restraining Order Against Obama on Immigration makes a Difficult, Long Appeal for Obama

It is interesting that the court is acting as actual check and balance on the President’s power, from Reuters:

“President Barack Obama’s administration faces a difficult and possibly lengthy legal battle to overturn a Texas court ruling that blocked his landmark immigration overhaul, since the judge based his decision on an obscure and unsettled area of administrative law, lawyers said.

In his ruling on Monday that upended plans to shield millions of people from deportation, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen avoided diving into sweeping constitutional questions or tackling presidential powers head-on. Instead, he faulted Obama for not giving public notice of his plans.

The failure to do so, Hanen wrote, was a violation of the 1946 Administrative Procedure Act, which requires notice in a publication called the Federal Register as well as an opportunity for people to submit views in writing.

The ruling, however narrow, marked an initial victory for 26 states that brought the case alleging Obama had exceeded his powers with executive orders…. There was no consensus among lawyers with expertise in administrative law and immigration law on whether Hanen would be reversed on appeal. But they said the judge was wise to focus on an area of administrative law where legal precedent is sometimes fuzzy.

In the near term, the narrow approach allowed Hanen to issue a temporary injunction barring federal agencies from putting Obama’s plans into place.”

And there is no other court precedent to rely on for this part of the law.

“For Hanen, the pivotal question became whether the new rules, such as granting work permits to potentially millions of illegal immigrants, was binding on federal agents or merely general guidance. He ruled that they were binding, and that Obama should have allowed for notice and comment.

Lawyers with expertise in administrative law said there was little guidance from the U.S. Supreme Court on what qualifies as a rule that needs to be published, leaving disagreement among lower courts and a grey area for Hanen to work in.

‘The case law as to what qualifies as a legislative rule is remarkably unclear,’ said Anne Joseph O’Connell, a University of California Berkeley law professor.”

It is expected that the case will take months, just to get to an appeal court decision.

In the meantime, all further actions to execute President Obama’s Executive Order by the Department of Homeland Security have stopped.

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