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Tags: Barack Obama | Climate Change | Healthcare Reform | Immigration | immigration | healthcare | federal courts

Fate of 3 Key Obama Policies Now Rests With Federal Courts

By    |   Wednesday, 18 February 2015 06:30 AM

A federal judge's ruling that halts implementation of President Barack Obama's executive order on the deportation of illegal immigrants underscores how much of Obama's legacy hinges on the outcome of court rulings, The Washington Post reported.

Besides immigration, the president's executive actions that modified the Affordable Care Act and others relating to climate change are also being challenged in the courts.

U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen, sitting in Texas, ruled that Obama's deferred-deportation program may not go forward until a lawsuit filed by 26 states challenging it had been decided. The administration wanted to remove the threat of deportation from up to 5 million illegal immigrants whose children are legally allowed to be in the country.

The president turned to executive orders on immigration, healthcare and climate  because congressional Republicans opposed Obama's wished-for legislation.

The Department of Homeland Security announced it would put off accepting applications for the immigration program. That initiative is itself a follow-up on an earlier executive order that allowed certain children brought to this country illegally to remain.

Expansion of the children's program, set to move forward on Wednesday, will also be postponed, The New York Times reported.

The judge said Obama's orders amounted to "a substantive change to immigration policy," and were, "in effect, a new law," the Times reported.

Obama said Tuesday that "the law is on our side and history is on our side."

With Congress and the president deadlocked, it will be left to the third branch of government to decide the fate of the administration's signature policies, the Post reported.

The next step in the legal chain is for the immigration case to be brought before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, which covers southern states and sits in New Orleans,  according to the Post.

In King v. Burwell, the Supreme Court will have to decide whether millions of people who purchased healthcare coverage on the federal health exchanges are entitled to subsidies.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit will consider three consolidated cases in April that dispute the Environmental Protection Agency's right to apply the Clean Air Act to police the emissions of power plants.

"The court is deciding just about every major question" on immigration, climate, healthcare "that divides Americans along ideological lines," said Doug Kendall of the Constitutional Accountability Center, according to the Post.

Hanen was appointed by president George W. Bush. A number judges on the D.C. Circuit Court, where Democrats outnumber Republicans 7-4, are recent Obama appointees, the Post reported.

The Supreme Court, which will have the last word, is seen by some observers as a more conservative bastion and therefore a balance to the D.C. Circuit, according to the Post.

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President Barack Obama's legacy — his executive orders halting the deportation of illegal immigrants, modifying the Affordable Care Act and allowing Environmental Protection Agency to apply the Clean Air Act to police power plant emissions — hinges on the outcome of court rulings.
immigration, healthcare, federal courts, obama, epa
Wednesday, 18 February 2015 06:30 AM
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