Does the president of the United States have the power to unilaterally tell millions of individuals who are violating federal law that he will not enforce that law against them now, that they may continue to violate that law in the future and that he will take action that makes them eligible for federal benefit programs for which they are not currently eligible due to their unlawful status?
Through Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, President Barack Obama is telling the Supreme Court exactly this right now.
The solicitor general calls what Obama is doing “prosecutorial discretion.”
He argues that under this particular type of “prosecutorial discretion,” the executive can make millions of people in this country illegally eligible for Social Security, disability and Medicare.
On April 18, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case. Entitled United States v. Texas, it pits President Obama against not only the Lone Star State, but also a majority of the states, which have joined in the litigation against the administration.