The Supreme Court on Wednesday tossed out a trial court's order that the Trump administration turn over internal documents relating to the decision to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), ruling that other issues must first be resolved before even considering whether such an order is appropriate.
In an unsigned opinion with no noted dissents, the Supreme Court ordered the district court hearing the challenges to the Trump administration's DACA decision to first consider whether the decision of then-Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke to rescind DACA is reviewable and, if it is, whether the district court has jurisdiction to hear the case in light of restrictions in the Immigration and Nationality Act.
"Either of those arguments, if accepted, likely would eliminate the need for the District Court to examine a complete administrative record [by obtaining the additional documents]," the ruling stated.
Even if the action is reviewable and the court has jurisdiction, the opinion continued, further litigation would be necessary because "the District Court may not compel the Government to disclose any document that the Government believes is privileged without first providing the Government with the opportunity to argue the issue."
The Supreme Court noted that Wednesday's ruling "does not suggest any view on the merits of respondents’ claims or the Government’s defenses."
The Justice Department took the case to the Supreme Court on Dec. 1, and the court granted a temporary stay while the justices considered the Justice Department's request.