WASHINGTON — A tie vote by the Supreme Court is blocking President Barack Obama’s immigration plan that sought to shield millions living in the U.S. illegally from deportation.
The justices’ one-sentence opinion on Thursday effectively kills the plan for the duration of Obama’s presidency.
A tie vote sets no national precedent but leaves in place the ruling by the lower court. In this case, the federal appeals court in New Orleans said the Obama administration lacked the authority to shield up to 4 million immigrants from deportation and make them eligible for work permits without approval from Congress.
President Barack Obama expressed disappointment Thursday in a deadlocked Supreme Court ruling which blocked efforts to expand his executive actions on immigration, saying the decision “takes us further from the country that we aspire to be.”
“For more than two decades now our immigration system, everybody acknowledges, has been broken,” Obama said. “And the fact that the Supreme Court wasn’t able to issue a decision today doesn’t just set the system back even further, it takes us further from the country that we aspire to be.”
Texas led 26 Republican-dominated states in challenging the program Obama announced in November 2014. Congressional Republicans also backed the states’ lawsuit.
The Court issued also issued rulings on cases involving affirmative action and drunk driving arrests.
The justices upheld the University of Texas admissions program that takes account of race by a 4-3 vote.
The university considers race among many factors in admitting the last quarter of incoming freshmen classes. Texas fills most of the freshman class by guaranteeing admission to students who graduate in the top 10 percent of their Texas high school class.
Justices ruled Thursday that police need a search warrant before requiring drivers to take blood alcohol tests. But the court declined to require a warrant for breath tests, which it considers less intrusive.
The ruling came in three cases where drivers challenged so-called implied consent laws in Minnesota and North Dakota as violating the Constitution’s ban on unreasonable search and seizure. State supreme courts in each state had upheld the laws.
Drivers in all 50 states can have their licenses revoked for refusing drunken driving tests. The court’s ruling affects laws in eleven states, Alaska, Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia that impose additional criminal penalties for such refusals.