A three-judge panel for the federal Fifth Circuit Court blocked an appeal from the Obama administration today that sought to lift an injunction against the president’s plan to offer a form of legal status to millions of illegal immigrants. The panel decided 2–1 that “the government is unlikely to succeed on the merits of its appeal of the injunction,” meaning the original injunction, from Judge Andrew Hanen of Texas, remains in force and the program can’t go forward.
Twenty-six states filed suit against the move, arguing that it amounted to a new federal policy that hadn’t gone through the proper rule-making process (the Obama administration contends the new policy just amounts to enforcement priorities); Judge Hanen placed an injunction on the program before a decision about its legitimacy has been reached. There was some controversy over whether the Obama administration simply ignored the injunction — the Department of Homeland Security issued thousands of work permits to people who seemed eligible — but Hanen criticized them for it, and the Obama administration sheepishly claims it was all a bunch of clerical errors.
The litigation now could go on for much longer, it seems, reaching the Supreme Court.
Josh Blackman, a law professor and NR contributor, is writing up some analysis of the decision on his blog here.