Three days ago, the federal government went to the Supreme Court, asking the justices to weigh in on a dispute over the Trump administration's decision to end a program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals even before the federal courts of appeals - and in particular the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit - could review the government's appeal from district court rulings against it.
The 9th Circuit disagreed with the New Orleans-based 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals and said one of its conclusions did not apply to DACA. She said executive agencies do not have the resources to deport every undocumented individual, which led Obama to pause deportation proceedings for minors through the creation of DACA.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program was begun in 2012 by President Barack Obama and has protected almost 700,000 people brought to this country as children. The Trump administration is seeking to convince the Supreme Court to consolidate those cases because they make the same substantive objections to the planned DACA rollback, and toss them all out on the merits.
In Thursday's ruling, 9th Circuit Judge Kim Wardlaw said California and other plaintiffs were likely to succeed with their claim that the decision to end DACA was arbitrary and capricious.
The judges said the plaintiffs made a plausible case that the Republican president's plan violates the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of equal protection under the law.
In doing so, the ruling upholds a decision from a federal district judge in January.
A spokesman for the Department of Justice insisted the administration had the authority to phase out DACA.
"Today's decision is a tremendous victory for our young immigrant Dreamers and the rule of law", said Attorney General Becerra. Then, on November 2, the Supreme Court declined to stop the lawsuit but told the Trump administration that the government can still petition a lower court to dismiss the case as the government had asked the high court to do.
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Several similar lawsuits challenging the DACA termination have been filed in other federal courts around the country.
California, the most populous USA state, is a liberal bastion that is unfriendly political territory for Trump.
The administration then asked the 9th Circuit to throw out Alsup's ruling.
Spokespersons were not immediately available to comment on whether the Justice Department will now keep that petition in place or replace it with a normal appeal of the 9th Circuit decision.
Judge Jacqueline Nguyen questioned whether courts could intervene if they thought DACA was legal and disagreed with the administration's position that it wasn't.
The 9th Circuit has handed him defeats on his travel ban targeting people from several Muslim-majority countries and his bid to withhold federal funds from so-called sanctuary cities that limit cooperation on immigration enforcement.
A federal judge in Washington in August ordered the administration to fully restore DACA, including taking new applications.