The Supreme Court will not reconsider President Obama’s plan to shield undocumented immigrants from deportation and denied the Washington Redskins’ bid to get its trademark case on this term’s docket.
With oral arguments postponed for a day because of the Rosh Hashanah Jewish holiday, the first Monday in October that marks the beginning of the new Supreme Court term became a day of rejection. The court issued a thick stack of cases that had accumulated over the summer that the justices decided not to hear.
Among the other losers: the NCAA, which had asked the court to review an appeals court ruling about its policies involving the amateur status of college football and basketball players. The issue remains alive in other court proceedings.
The administration’s request was a long-shot bid to salvage what had been the biggest legal defeat of Obama’s presidency. In June, a deadlocked court failed to revive his stalled plan to shield millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation and give them the right to work legally in the United States.
The justices’ votes at the time were not announced, but the court’s liberals and conservatives were split at oral argument last spring. The tie meant that a lower court’s decision that Obama probably exceeded his powers in issuing the executive action kept the plan from being implemented.
The court’s action affected about 4 million illegal immigrants estimated to be covered by Obama’s plan, which would have deferred deportation for those who have been in the country since 2010, have not committed any serious crimes and have family ties to U.S. citizens or others lawfully in the country.
The Supreme Court rarely grants motions for rehearing. But the administration’s lawyers made the request in hopes that by now the vacancy created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia would be filled. Instead, Senate Republicans have blocked consideration of Obama’s nominee to the court, appeals court judge Merrick Garland. They say the next president should fill the election-year opening.
The fate of the program now awaits the election. Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has said she will revive and expand the program; Republican nominee Donald Trump has said he would end it for good.
The football team’s request was something of a Hail Mary pass, as well. The club’s decades-old registration of its iconic nickname was canceled by the U.S. Patent and Trade Office, which said it violated the ban on disparaging trademarks.
But the team has appealed that and a lower court’s agreement to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit. The Supreme Court does not usually take up cases before proceedings in the lower court are completed.
The issue, though, will be covered in the court’s term. The justices last week said it would consider the similar case of an Asian American rock band called the Slants, who were denied trademark registration.
A majority of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said the law — which calls for the rejection of trademarks that “may disparage . . . persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt, or disrepute” — violates the First Amendment’s free-speech guarantee.
The justices decided not to review an appeals court decision that gave both the NCAA and the former college athletes something to be unhappy about.
U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken said the NCAA could not prevent universities from offering money to athletes beyond scholarships to cover the “full cost of attendance.” She also said they should be able to provide them with $5,000 a year that they would receive after leaving college.
A divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit agreed on the full cost of attendance, but upheld the organization’s ban on paying athletes. It said the NCAA’s amateurism rules carried some benefits.
After the trial court ruled, the organization decided to let colleges pay the full cost of attendance.
The suit was filed by former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon on behalf of himself and other former athletes.
The court also declined to revive an investigation into alleged campaign finance improprieties in Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s 2012 battle against recall.
The justices decided not to review a Wisconsin Supreme Court decision that shut down the John Doe probe into whether Walker (R) illegally coordinated with outside conservative groups.
Walker defeated the recall effort and won reelection in 2014.
The questions in the case concerned whether Walker’s campaign coordinated with the Wisconsin Club for Growth and other conservative groups on advertising during the 2012 recall without reporting the groups’ contributions.
An investigation was conducted under the state’s John Doe law that allowed secret probes into public misconduct by public officials. The judge halted the investigation, and conservative justices on the Wisconsin Supreme Court agreed. One of the challenges was whether those justices, who also received contributions from Club for Growth, should have recused themselves.