January 15, 2020
The fate of 700,000 people facing deportation may hang on a new question facing the U.S. Supreme Court: Is the White House legally obligated to tell the whole truth when justifying its actions? In November, justices heard arguments over the administration’s decision to rescind Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. This Obama-era provision halted the deportation of undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. at an early age, often referred to as Dreamers. A ruling is likely to come late this spring.The case in front of the court is not about whether the president of the United States has the authority to rescind DACA. All of the parties involved agree that he does. The actual question reflects the current politics of what has been called the post-fact era: Under American law does the executive branch have to give complete and accurate reasons for its actions? From my perspective as a scholar of constitutional politics, this is a provocative question with broad ramifications. If the answer is “yes,” it could usher in a new era in which the Supreme Court and many lower courts judge the evasion or candor of public officials. A “no” could give carte blanche to the executive branch to avoid public accountability and offer less-than-full reasons for doing what it does.
Supreme Court DACA decision isnt just about Dreamers -- its about whether the White House has to tell the truth
The truth?The core of the case became clear during oral arguments in November.Advocates for DACA recipients and the government both seemed to agree that the court’s role is only to determine if the procedure the Trump administration followed was adequate under congressional laws, especially the Administrative Procedure Act. The case is about procedure, not policy.Perhaps the key exchange in a fascinating set of arguments occurred when Justice Brett Kavanaugh framed the situation bluntly to Ted Olson, the advocate for DACA recipients:> JUSTICE KAVANAUGH: Do you agree that the executive has the legal authority to rescind DACA?> > MR. OLSON: Yes.> > JUSTICE KAVANAUGH: Okay. So the question then comes down to the explanation. The whole truth?Trump’s position on Dreamers has shifted over time. In the early days of his presidency, he told reporters that he would show “great heart” over the issue, adding that there were some “absolutely incredible kids” in the program. But by the fall of 2019, Trump was portraying Dreamers in a different light, suggesting that “some are very tough, hardened criminals.”Different explanations for his decision to rescind DACA were heard by the Supreme Court.The administration argued that DACA was unconstitutional to begin with, on the grounds that the executive order from President Obama exceeded executive authority.Advocates for the DACA recipients offered alternative explanations. They argued that the White House is willing to accept the high costs to so many current residents in order to achieve their political goal of reducing the number of unauthorized immigrants. Or as Justice Sonia Sotomayor phrased it, this is a “political decision” that “is not about the law; this is about our choice to destroy lives.”Others have said the administration is using DACA as a bargaining chip for other legislative goals, including funding for the border wall.If the administration is doing this for partisan and policy reasons, whether DACA is constitutional or not, are they legally bound to be honest in explaining why?Justice Elena Kagan, perhaps the most likely of the four liberal justices to join a conservative majority, asked the key question: “Well, what would an adequate explanation look like?”Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg suggested the answer should be, “We don’t like DACA and we’re taking responsibility for that, instead of trying to put the blame on the law.” And nothing but?Justice Stephen Breyer asked an important question for the legacy of the ruling: “What’s the point?” In other words, why make the administration say what everyone already knows – that it opposes DACA and is not moved by the human cost of deportation?The answer came from Michael Mongan, advocate for the University of California where around 1,700 Dreamers study. He argued that the reason to reject the Trump administation’s actions is that “they have not made a decision that actually takes ownership of a discretionary choice to end this policy … so the public could hold them accountable for the choice they’ve made.”The point is democratic accountability. If the executive branch is forced to make full and honest admissions, then voters can judge elected officials accurately. …so, help us Chief Justice RobertsIn their deliberations on whether the administration has to be fully forthcoming in explaining its actions, the justices have a recent precedent established by Chief Justice John Roberts.Last year when the Supreme Court rejected the Trump administration’s effort to put a citizenship question on the 2020 census, Roberts argued that if the executive branch advances dishonest arguments, the court would not accept them. The phrases Roberts used included “pretext,” “contrived,” and “a story that does not match the explanation.” In common language, that means lying.Roberts’ assertion in the census case met with deep disdain from Justice Clarence Thomas, who wrote: “For the first time ever, the court invalidates an agency action solely because it questions the sincerity of the agency’s otherwise adequate rationale.”The point was put even more bluntly by Justice Samuel Alito, who wrote that the federal judiciary had “no authority to stick its nose into” whether reasons given by the administration were the “only reasons” or the “real reasons.”DACA advocates are now asking Justice Roberts to extend his ruling on the census case to encompass a broad demand for executive candor. The long-term legacy of the case may be whether the Supreme Court led by John Roberts agrees to become an arbiter of public honesty.[ Get the best of The Conversation, every weekend. Sign up for our weekly newsletter. ]This article is republished from The Conversation, a nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts.Read more: * Iran-U.S. crisis reminds us how culture matters in war time * Political assassinations were once unthinkable. Why the US killing of Soleimani sets a worrying precedentMorgan Marietta does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
Related Stories
Latest News
Top news around the world
Coronavirus Disease

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.

Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

Around the World

Celebrity News

> Latest News in Media

Watch It
Julia Fox defends viral ‘Uncut Gems’ interview moment: ‘I was stoned’ | Page Six Celebrity News
February 17, 2022
4m-p0_-ePd8
Alexia Echevarria pushed ‘RHOM’ producers to show more of son Frankie’s recovery | Page Six
February 17, 2022
E-wTaN9NfkI
Pete Davidson rejoins Instagram amid Kanye West drama | Page Six Celebrity News
February 17, 2022
SsC3dmsI6t4
Aaron Rodgers And Shailene Woodley Reportedly Break Up | TMZ LIVE
February 17, 2022
FoErdRE8Qe4
Chet Hanks Done Talking About Famous Parents, Becoming Personal Trainer | TMZ
February 16, 2022
5_UrULOkQ6o
Woman Stabbed at Foot Locker During Nike Shoe Release
February 16, 2022
TfuXMs1JdVg
Steph's Freaky Side, "Summer House" & "Love During Lockup"
February 17, 2022
9W_raO0zlA8
Tay or Nay, Offset's Sushi Anxiety & Nick on Monogamy
February 17, 2022
PauYHpJRA6o
Kim Kardashian & North West TWINNING in Matching Pajamas | E! News
February 17, 2022
b-_Oib6R108
Adam McKay - Hollywood Walk of Fame Ceremony
February 17, 2022
tYtzsHoOZzo
Tom Holland, Mark Wahlberg, and the Cast of 'Uncharted' Talk Most Challenging Stunts
February 15, 2022
d3ksX-SKi8c
Ryan Reynolds and Walker Scobell on ‘The Adam Project’, ‘Deadpool’, and Possible ‘Star Wars’ Role
February 16, 2022
5TxJsbJr9Dk
TV Schedule
Late Night Show
Watch the latest shows of U.S. top comedians

Sports

Latest sport results, news, videos, interviews and comments
Latest Events
04
May
CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Playoffs
Seattle Sounders - Pumas
04
May
USA: Major League Soccer
FC Cincinnati - Toronto FC
03
May
ENGLAND: Championship
Bournemouth - Nottingham Forest
02
May
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester United - Brentford
02
May
ENGLAND: Championship
Fulham - Luton
02
May
SPAIN: La Liga
Getafe - Real Betis
02
May
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Bayer Leverkusen - Eintracht Frankfurt
02
May
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Borussia Monchengladbach - RB Leipzig
02
May
ITALY: Serie A
Atalanta - Salernitana
01
May
ENGLAND: Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur - Leicester City
01
May
SPAIN: La Liga
Barcelona - Mallorca
01
May
ITALY: Serie A
Roma - Bologna
01
May
ENGLAND: Premier League
West Ham United - Arsenal
01
May
ENGLAND: Premier League
Everton - Chelsea
01
May
ITALY: Serie A
Udinese - Inter Milan
01
May
ITALY: Serie A
AC Milan - Fiorentina
01
May
ITALY: Serie A
Juventus - Venezia
01
May
SPAIN: La Liga
Rayo Vallecano - Real Sociedad
30
Apr
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Mainz - Bayern Munich
30
Apr
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Borussia Dortmund - Bochum
30
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Newcastle United - Liverpool
30
Apr
SPAIN: La Liga
Athletic Bilbao - Atletico Madrid
30
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Leeds - Manchester City
30
Apr
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Madrid - Espanyol
30
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Napoli - Sassuolo
28
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester United - Chelsea
27
Apr
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Semifinal
Liverpool - Villarreal
27
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Bologna - Inter Milan
26
Apr
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Semifinal
Manchester City - Real Madrid
25
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Sassuolo - Juventus
24
Apr
SPAIN: La Liga
Barcelona - Rayo Vallecano
24
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Lazio - AC Milan
24
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Liverpool - Everton
24
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Chelsea - West Ham United
24
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Empoli - Napoli
23
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Brentford - Tottenham Hotspur
Find us on Instagram
at @feedimo to stay up to date with the latest.
Featured Video You Might Like
zWJ3MxW_HWA L1eLanNeZKg i1XRgbyUtOo -g9Qziqbif8 0vmRhiLHE2U JFCZUoa6MYE UfN5PCF5EUo 2PV55f3-UAg W3y9zuI_F64 -7qCxIccihU pQ9gcOoH9R8 g5MRDEXRk4k
Copyright © 2020 Feedimo. All Rights Reserved.