John Roberts on Immigration

Supreme Court Justice (nominated by Pres. George W. Bush 2005)


DACA protect childhood immigrants from deportation

The Supreme Court blocked the Trump administration's attempt to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, an Obama-era program that protects immigrants brought to the US as children from deportation. After Trump came into office, the administration announced the program had been created "without proper authority" and that DACA would be phased out.

Federal courts said the administration had acted arbitrarily when phasing out the program. The courts pointed to the administration's thin justification--reasoning Roberts and the Supreme Court eventually agreed with.

The 5-4 ruling was written by Chief Justice Roberts, who wrote in the majority opinion. "'The wisdom of those decisions 'is none of our concern.' We address only whether the agency complied with the procedural requirement that it provide a reasoned explanation for its action." >The ruling emphasizes that the administration failed to provide an adequate reason to justify ending the DACA program.

Source: CNN on 2020 Scotus ruling on DACA , Jun 18, 2020

Voted with liberals on Arizona immigration case

Two of the 28 cases from which Elena Kagan was recused ended with the Court deadlocked four to four after briefing and oral argument. There was speculation that Justice Kagan's recusal may have played a role in the outcome of another important case last Term, involving Arizona's controversial immigration law, S.B. 1070. On June 25, the Court, by a vote of five to three, ruled that three of the four provisions at issue in the case were preempted by federal law. The deciding vote in Arizona v. United States arguably belonged to the Chief Justice, who joined Justice Kennedy and the Court's more liberal members, Justices Ginsburg, Breyer and Sotomayor. Several commentators were surprised by the Chief Justice's vote and suggested that he may have joined the majority to avoid having the case end in a tie vote.
Source: ScotusBlog.com, "SCOTUS for law students" , Oct 9, 2012

Allow courts to issue stays on deportation proceedings

The Supreme Court has decided that immigrants seeking a stay of their removal from the U.S. while they appeal the removal order don't need to meet the restrictive requirements of 8 U. S. C. 1252(f)(2) before a court can issue a stay. Instead, the Court says that the traditional, more lenient, criteria governing stays should control the issue.

This does not necessarily mean that immigrants will have an easier time obtaining such a stay, however. The Court, in a majority opinion authored by Chief Justice John Roberts, explicitly states that appeals courts cannot assume that the balance of hardships favors applicants.

The Court reasoned that an alien seeking a stay of a removal order is not seeking an order against the government that would prevent it from executing the removal order; rather, the alien has requested a postponement of the actual order. Thus, the request for a stay should not be subject to 8 U. S. C. 1252(f)(2)'s requirements for an injunction.

Source: FindLaw.com blog on 2009 SCOTUS "Deportation" , Apr 22, 2009

AZ may revoke licenses for hiring unauthorized aliens.

Justice Roberts wrote the Court's decision on CHAMBER OF COMMERCE v. WHITING on May 26, 2011:

The 1986 federal Immigration Reform and Control Act forbids state governments from sanctioning employers who hire "unauthorized aliens." The 2007 Legal Arizona Workers Act authorizes State courts to suspend and revoke State-issued licenses, charters, etc. for businesses that knowingly hire "unauthorized aliens." The AZ law also requires employers to use the federal E-Verify system to determine the work eligibility of all employees.

HELD:Delivered by Roberts; joined by Scalia, Kennedy, Alito & Thomas

The federal law allows States to take licensing action. The word "license" includes the many forms of legal permission to perform an act, and therefore includes charters, articles of incorporation, etc. The AZ law relies only on determinations made by federal authorities of employment eligibility, and allows employers the same good faith defense as in federal law. Employers, in fact, must use the E-Verify system provided by the federal government.

DISSENT #1:Breyer dissents; joined by Ginsburg

The AZ law intrudes on Congress's balancing of
  1. immigration enforcement
  2. burdens on employers, and
  3. prevention of discrimination.
The meaning of "licensing" in the immigration law was never intended to mean every form of business permit that a State might issue, but only in regards to licensed employment agencies. Also, E-Verify is error prone and may not be relied upon.

DISSENT #2:Sotomayor dissents

This one poorly drafted clause in the federal immigration statute was only meant to allow States to take action against business licenses AFTER a successful federal government prosecution of a business for hiring an unauthorized alien. The AZ law runs contrary to the uniformity and expertise in enforcement of immigration law that Congress intended by allowing only federal officials to prosecute and rule upon civil and criminal cases.

Kagan recused herself.

Source: Supreme Court case 11-WHITING argued on Dec 8, 2010

Other Justices on Immigration: John Roberts on other issues:
Samuel Alito(since 2006)
Amy Coney Barrett(since 2020)
Stephen Breyer(since 1994)
Neil Gorsuch(since 2017)
Ketanji Brown Jackson(nominated 2022)
Elena Kagan(since 2010)
Brett Kavanaugh(since 2018)
John Roberts(since 2005)
Sonia Sotomayor(since 2009)
Clarence Thomas(since 1991)

Former Justices:
Merrick Garland(nominated 2016)
Ruth Bader Ginsburg(1993-2020)
Anthony Kennedy(1988-2018)
Antonin Scalia(1986-2016)
John Paul Stevens(1975-2010)
David Souter(1990-2009)
Sandra Day O'Connor(1981-2006)
William Rehnquist(1975-2005)

Party Platforms:
Democratic Platform
Green Platform
Libertarian Platform
Natural Law Platform
Reform Platform
Republican Platform
Tea Platform
Civil Rights
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
Homeland Security
Social Security
Tax Reform

Page last updated: Mar 21, 2022