Politics

Durbin Confident Court Will Uphold Obama on Immigration

Democrat says court could deadlock in big case unless Senate acts on Garland nomination

Immigration reform supporters rally outside of the Supreme Court during oral arguments on President Obama's executive actions, which would help defer deportation. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

One of these things is not quite like the other.  

Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin emerged from the Supreme Court Monday saying the outcome of litigation over President Barack Obama's executive action on immigration was "totally uncertain."  

"I thought we made a strong argument for the president's position, but I listened to the justices and I think it's almost impossible to predict this outcome," the Illinois Democrat told reporters.  

But on social media, Durbin sought to sound more upbeat about the prospects that the Obama administration will prevail in the case, United States v. Texas.  

The challenge has stalled implementation of a series of executive steps designed to help parents remain in the country without legal status if their children are citizens or permanent residents.  

Durbin wrote: I'm confident #SCOTUS will uphold @POTUS' actions & I hope Congress will work to pass #ImmigrationReform to fix our broken system once & for all.

Durbin said outside the court that he could easily see the case resulting in a 4-4 deadlock, given no action so far in the Senate on filling the vacancy left by the death in February of Justice Antonin Scalia.  

Durbin used the opportunity to again criticize Republican senators for not holding hearings or a vote on Obama's nominee, D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge Merrick Garland. They want the next president to fill Scalia's seat.  

"This vacancy on the Supreme Court could make the difference. The Republicans in the Senate who are are refusing to fill the Scalia vacancy could have an impact, creating confusion across the United States, just because of the cases as important as this," Durbin said.  

"This election is going to be critical in terms of the future of the Supreme Court, and cases just like this. We're talking about the fate of millions of people, which may be decided by a vacancy."

Contact Lesniewski at nielslesniewski@cqrollcall.com and follow him on Twitter @nielslesniewski. Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.