Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Festival Cinco de Mayo de Amarillo

El 3 de Mayo estaremos participando en el "Festival Cinco de Mayo," en AMARILLO, TX!

Amigos de Amarillo, no se les olvide recoger sus boletos GRATIS en nuestra oficina localizada al 4104 SW 33rd Ave, Ste. 200, Amarillo, TX, 79109.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Revealed: Three Judge Panel to Hear Arguments Over Immigration Injunction

Yesterday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans announced the three judge panel scheduled to hear arguments this Friday, April 17th, over the Department of Justice’s request for a stay of an injunction against the Obama administration’s executive immigration actions.

The issue the judges will have to consider is whether to allow the injunction issued on February 16th by District Judge Andrew Hanen to remain in effect while an expedited appeal moves forward.  The panel announced Monday is unlikely to be the panel that makes the final decision on the legal merits of Judge Hanen’s decision.  A new panel will likely be scheduled to hear arguments over that issue sometime next month.

Regardless, the composition of the panel may not bode well for the Obama administration.  Of the three judges, two are Republican appointees.  The third, Stephen Higginson, was appointed by President Obama.  The GOP appointees include Jennifer Walker Elrod, appointed by President George W. Bush, and Jerry Smith, appointed by President Ronald Reagan.

Judge Smith is by far the most famous of the panel.  His quasi celebrity status dates back to his involvement in litigation concerning the Affordable Care Act in 2012 when he garnered attention for lecturing Department of Justice attorneys and assigning them homework.  Antics aside, his reputation is that of a very conservative judge, having described himself as a former “right wing activist.”  Judge Smith is Yale educated and came to the circuit court after practicing law in Houston.

Judge Jerry Smith of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals - Courtesy of the Federalist Society

With Judge Smith’s history and Judge Higginson being an Obama appointee, the decision may come down to how Judge Elrod views the issue.  While she is a Bush appointee, and presumably conservative, her record is not as extreme as that of Judge Smith, so it is possible she could be swayed.

Of course, the issue most people are not talking about is the role the Fifth Circuit’s recent unanimous decision in Crane v. Johnson might play.  In Crane, the Fifth Circuit rejected a challenge to President Obama’s 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program brought by the state of Mississippi and agents of Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE).

In Crane, the arguments presented by the plaintiffs mirrored those offered by Texas and 25 other states in their lawsuit.  Additionally, the immigration actions currently enjoined by District Judge Hanen are an expansion of his 2012 DACA program.

Governor Greg Abbott and Texas lead the lawsuit against President Obama's Immigration Actions - 
Courtesy of The Texas Tribune

It will be interesting to see how the Fifth Circuit attempts to differentiate the current lawsuit from Crane, assuming they want to.  Until then, arguments will last two hours this Friday with a decision to follow.  Regardless, these issues may not be resolved until the U.S. Supreme Court has a say on the matter.  Time will tell.

Nathan R. Bogart is an immigration attorney at Petty & Associates, P.C.  He works out of the firm's Amarillo office and focuses his practice on removal defense, asylum, and citizenship.