A View from SCOTUS: First Reactions after the Texas Immigration Decision

There was still a sense of hope at 8:45 this morning outside of the Supreme Court.

People of all ages gathered around a sign that read, “Stop Separating Families.” They danced around in a circle, chanted and sang songs. They waved large signs around to show passersby what the group was fighting for.

US v. Texas: Stop Separating Families

The energetic atmosphere overpowered the nearby groups standing for other issues, and there was a noticeable lack of any competing voices when it came to the issue of immigration.

A collective sense of confidence ran through those anticipating the U.S. v. Texas decision about the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program.

US v. Texas: Outside SCOTUS

At stake was President Barack Obama’s program allowing millions of immigrants who entered the country illegally to remain and work in the U.S. temporarily.

Fast forward less than two hours to 10:32 a.m.

The court had already delivered three opinions, and the reporters inside the press room were still breathing heavily from running back to their desks and quickly calling, emailing, and Tweeting to their colleagues and random online Supreme Court fanatics about the Fisher v. University of Texas affirmative action decision.

Journalists crammed together to grab the sheet of paper with the 4-4 per curiam decision for the Dollar General Corp. v. Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians case.

“That’s not it!” two women yelled from inside the room, causing a flurry of people to pivot on their heels mid-run. “There’s more!”

Everyone scrambled back to the front of the press room, sneaking through the small open spaces to grab another single sheet of paper. The second sheet containing the U.S. v. Texas decision also only had one important sentence written on it, and there was a mix of loud reactions and quiet mumbles amongst the reporters.

"The judgment is affirmed by an equally divided Court.”

The opinion leaves in place the lower court decision which puts the brakes on the DAPA program.

There was a clear and immediate change in the now-solemn ambiance outside of the court. Individuals stepped up to a microphone to share stories and statements about how the decision will shape their own lives, and those of their loved ones.

After the Decision in US v. Texas

The disappointed expressions turned into louder, more demanding speeches as crowds of people congregated to listen to the chants. 

“Shame on you, shame on you! Vote in November, vote in November!” the groups repeated, gaining more participants with each word.

Another cluster of people—a group of all children—stood almost directly in front of the Supreme Court steps, drawing attention from the broadcast news stations and other individuals walking down the street.

About 20 children joined with signs saying, “I Am An American.” And, a few written in Spanish, “Yo Soy Un Americano.”

US v. Texas: I am an American

The children did not say anything, but their solemn faces showed the decision’s significance.

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