After a legal setback at the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this week, the Justice Department announced on Wednesday that it would not pursue an emergency effort to lift a stay that has blocked the President’s immigration actions, instead focusing on the next round of appellate arguments on the matter.
“Although the Department continues to disagree with the Fifth Circuit’s refusal to stay the district court’s preliminary injunction, the Department has determined that it will not seek a stay from the Supreme Court,” said Patrick Rodenbush, a spokesman for the Justice Department.
Instead, the Obama Administration will zero in on arguments set for July 6 before the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans on whether the President’s immigration actions should be allowed to go forward even while their legality is being reviewed by the courts.
“The Department believes the best way to achieve this goal is to focus on the ongoing appeal on the merits of the preliminary injunction itself,” Rodenbush added in a written statement.
From the White House, the message was much the same.
“I think many of you have noted, there’s an important hearing scheduled for July 6th at which the Department of Justice is preparing its arguments,” said spokesman Eric Schultz aboard Air Force One.
In a fundraiser in Miami, President Obama wasn’t backing off the argument that his actions were legal.
“We’re not waiting for Congress,” the President said. “We’re moving forward on everything from precision medicine to rationalizing where we can take our immigration system.”
The decision not to appeal removes one of three chances for this legal fight to make it to the U.S. Supreme Court; the second one involves the injunction and that July 6 argument – the third is on the underlying issue of whether the President overstepped his authority in issuing the immigration policy changes.
That main issue of the constitutionality of the President’s action has not yet been ruled on by a federal Judge in Texas.