How Would Supreme Court Nominee Merrick Garland Rule on Amnesty?

March 29, 2016 | PFIR

When it comes to the Supreme Court nomination process, Americans want to get the show on the road.

Two-thirds of Americans want the Senate to hold a confirmation hearing for Merrick Garland, the judge President Obama recently nominated to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by the late Antonin Scalia. Yet, the Republican-controlled Senate steadfastly refuses to hold hearings.

Although this obstructionism is lamentable, American workers stand to benefit if it continues just a little while longer. In April, the Supreme Court will begin to consider the fate of President Obama’s executive amnesty program, which allows millions of illegal aliens to stay in the United States and compete with U.S. laborers. If Judge Garland is confirmed in time to rule on this case, his past votes indicate that he would side with the administration and uphold the amnesty program.

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court announced that it would judge whether or not President Obama’s executive amnesty was constitutional. The case stems a 2014 executive action that defers deportation and grants work permits to nearly 5 million illegal aliens. Twenty-six states sued the administration for unlawfully burdening them with the cost of supporting those illegal workers. Lower courts agreed with the states that the executive amnesty is unconstitutional. But the administration appealed to the Supreme Court, arguing it has the authority to deprioritize deportations for certain aliens.

The Supreme Court is expected to hear the case, United States v. Texas, beginning April 18th. While it remains unlikely that the Senate will hold a confirmation hearing for Garland, past nominees have been confirmed in mere weeks.

So it’s possible that Judge Garland could be confirmed in time to hear the case.

And if he were, it’s likely that he would side with the administration. In past decisions, the judge has favored wide interpretative powers for the executive branch, regardless of its political leanings. For instance, in 2003, he supported the George W. Bush administration’s executive privilege in a case regarding Guantanamo Bay prisoners. He has also upheld the Obama administrations’ environmental regulations.

Upholding executive amnesty would threaten American workers. Almost 8 million Americans are out of work. Their struggle to find decent jobs will only grow harder if they have to compete with almost 5 million illegal aliens who receive legal work privileges.

Americans want to fill the empty Supreme Court seat. But since Judge Garland has a history of favoring broad executive powers, workers are probably better off if the Senate drags its feet just a bit longer.

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