WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Tuesday granted Texas and 25 other states an extension of eight days to file briefs in a case concerning the Obama administration’s controversial immigration programs, increasing the chances that should justices agree to hear the case, they could do so this term and most likely issue an opinion by July.
Texas had initially asked for a 30-day delay, something that could have potentially put off oral arguments and a ruling until after the November election. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli suggested the shorter extension instead.
The issue of timing is critical for the administration because a lower court has blocked the programs from going forward. The White House is hopeful the Supreme Court will allow millions of undocumented immigrants to apply for programs that could make them eligible for work authorization and some associated benefits.
The order posted on the Court’s docket indicates that Texas’ brief should be filed by December 29 instead of the previous deadline of December 21. The Court still has to meet and vote on whether it will take up the case, and other delays could arise, but today’s action by the Court increases the chances that the case could be heard and decided this term.
Immigrant rights groups — fearful that the case might be pushed off until next term and decided after the presidential election, expressed relief by the Court’s decision.
“Immigrant families have waited too long already for their day in Court and we are delighted that this gives the chance for the Court to hear the case this term,” said Karen Tumlin of the National Immigration Law Center.