We just got a sad reminder of why the Supreme Court needs all nine justices yesterday. And since the Republican Senate refuses to give President Obama's nominee (Merrick Garland) a hearing or a vote, it becomes important that our next president (who will fill the current vacancy) be a Democrat (Hillary Clinton).
In 2014, President Obama issued two executive orders. The first was DAPA (Deferred Action for the Parents of Americans). The second was DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) -- an expansion of the Dream Act. But before either program could go into effect, some right-wing Republicans took the matter to court. They got an injunction to stop both orders from the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals (one of the most conservative appeals courts, located in New Orleans).
President Obama appealed that injunction to the United States Supreme Court. On Thursday, the Court said they were in a 4 to 4 tie -- which means the lower court injunction will stand (at least for now). It's possible that the matter could again go to the Supreme Court after they get a full compliment of nine justices. But for now, this non-decision means that immigrant families can be torn apart -- with immigrant parents being separated from their American citizen children and deported. It also means that some immigrants who came as a child, and have grown up in this country, could be deported to a country they have little or no knowledge of.
The crazy part is that a substantial majority of Americans support both DAPA and the Dream Act. That's what the Public Religion Research Institute found in a survey. About 73% support DAPA and 66% support the Dream Act -- and that approval of both spans all demographic groups (including Republicans).