The United State v. Texas

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There is a landmark Supreme Court (SC) case on the docket. It is called the United States v. Texas. Additional information can be found out here: http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/united-states-v-texas/ . It is somewhat unique in that the SC will not hear oral arguments, but instead will review the legality of the matter. This case has everything, presidential power, immigration, homeland security, states’ rights, congressional malaise, and what a very important part of the Constitution actually means.

You will need to read the material provided below, and the three articles listed to answer the questions for the homework assignment. You will answer 4 questions (.5 points each) just to show you read the articles.

Then you will answer 3 questions (1 point each) which will ask you how you would decide the issues of the case, and what you are basing your opinion on. You can decide either way, your grade will not be affected by which side you lean. What is important is you base your decision in a well thought out argument based on the Constitution, societal norms, the information in the articles, and what you have learned in class. The answers will need to be in paragraph form, structured and well organized. No more than 10 sentences each. Extra oomph in grading will be given for sourcing the material you base your opinion on (Use sourcing guidelines according to whatever you are familiar with (APSA works well if you want to look it up)). Obvious last minute ramblings will be scathingly eviscerated.

Look, any half-drunk idiot can sit at the end of a bar, drinking cheap beer, and spouting off “How I think ‘merica should be run” and spew their opinions, but you are educated scholars and facts matter to you. You are part of the 25% of the American citizenry that earns a higher degree. It is required of you to make informed decisions. Again, my job isn’t to teach you what to think, but rather how to think. You can decide the issue however you want, but you better be able to back it up with facts and/or good research.

 

Here is the Information on The United State v. Texas:

(this section is part of the assigned readings and has been included to show the relevant points to give you a better understanding, but you will need to go to http://www.scotusblog.com/2016/02/the-immigration-case-made-simple/ to read the entire write up as well as the other articles listed)

The first section is a basic understanding of the questions being raised.

“As filed by the government, the case raised three issues:

First, do state governments have a right to sue the federal government to challenge how it enforces — or fails to enforce — a federal law?  That is a question under the Constitution’s Article III, which limits federal courts to deciding only “live” cases or controversies in which federal agency conduct has harmed someone directly. [Can states sue the federal government for how the government implements laws?]

Second, does the 2014 program and the expansion of the 2012 [DACA and DAPA] program go beyond the powers that Congress has given to the president and his aides under federal immigration laws — or, in other words, did President Obama need Congress’s new approval before going ahead with the new programs? [Is the President within his rights to interpret and implement the laws as he sees fit?]

And third, are the programs illegal under federal law because the general public was not given a chance to react to them before they were adopted? [Does the president really need to give the general public time to respond and comment to every decision the president makes in “faithfully executing” the laws, or is that accomplished through the roles and responsibilities of Congressional Representation?]

When the Court agreed last month to hear the case, it added a constitutional question that the challenging states want answered: did the president violate the constitutional command that he carry out federal laws “faithfully”?  Although that command has been in the Constitution since the beginning in 1789, the Supreme Court has never spelled out in a full and final way what that does to limit the president’s choices about how to enforce existing law (Lyle Denniston, 2-5-2016. “The Immigration case, made simple.” Scotus Blog, Accessed 2-9-16 http://www.scotusblog.com/2016/02/the-immigration-case-made-simple/).”

This second section is further discussion of the questions being raised

“On the first question being reviewed, the government argues that the states should be barred from suing the federal government in a dispute over enforcement of a federal law, because the states cannot show that they are harmed by the government’s use of its discretion.  The states argue that harm to only one state is enough to allow a group of them to sue, and, in this case, Texas would be injured by having to spend millions of dollars in arranging for driver’s licenses for immigrants allowed to remain in the U.S.

On the second question, the government contends that it acted well within the scope of existing immigration laws, because the executive branch must have the authority to use discretion in what it can do and the resources it has available to implement a law like those already on the books governing deportation.  Delaying deportation has been done in the past, and the new program is actually not that different from those episodes, the government contends, adding that there is no way as a practical matter that it could carry out the deportation of upwards of eleven million people.  The states counter that Congress has set the specific terms for enforcing the laws governing deportation, and the executive branch has no choice but to implement those terms.  They also argue that discretion should be used only on a person-by-person basis, not on the mass scale of four million or more immigrants.

On the third question, the government contends that its use of discretion about whom and when to deport is not subject to the law requiring advance notice to the public and a period for the public to react before implementation.  The states respond that the use of such widely sweeping discretion amounts to such a change in the enforcement of existing laws that the public must be made a part of the review process.

The government had tried to persuade the Court not to take on the constitutional question about whether President Obama had “faithfully” carried out existing immigrant laws, because, it said, the states’ argument on that point overlapped with its argument on the second question in the case.  The states assert that Obama has essentially abdicated his duty to implement existing laws in keeping with what Congress had ordered, so he has violated the Take Care Clause (Lyle Denniston, 2-5-2016. “The Immigration case, made simple.” Scotus Blog, Accessed 2-9-16 http://www.scotusblog.com/2016/02/the-immigration-case-made-simple/).”

 

News and Blog articles that you must read to complete the assignment:

Denniston, Lyle (2-4-2016). “Constitution Check: What does the ‘Take Care Clause’ mean?” Constitution Daily, http://blog.constitutioncenter.org/2016/02/constitution-check-what-does-the-take-care-clause-mean/ accessed 2-9-2016

Denniston, Lyle (2-5-2016). “The immigration case, made simple.” Scotusblog http://www.scotusblog.com/2016/02/the-immigration-case-made-simple/ accessed 2-9-2016

Howe, Amy (1-19-2016). “Court will review Obama administration’s immigration policy: In Plain English.” Scotusblog http://www.scotusblog.com/2016/01/court-will-review-obama-administrations-immigration-policy-in-plain-english/ accessed 2-9-2016

You will need to read the articles provided to answer the following questions:

According to the article “Constitution Check:…” when the drafters of the Constitution focused on the powers of the President, they wanted to create an office with ___________ and the capacity to act ____________.

The phrase “He shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed” is rather vague. What Supreme Court case from 1985 has the court been using as precedent up till now?

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