The US Supreme Court have agreed to hear a challenge to Obama’s 2014 executive orders which essentially granted 5 million illegal immigrants in the USA some form of legal status (subject to not inconsiderable checks and bureaucracy!). This is great evidence for powers of the President and the Supreme Court in Unit 4, and for Civil Rights in Unit 3. It could also be used as an example of big government overruling states in the federalism topic of the US Constitution in Unit 4.
26 states are suing Obama claiming he acted beyond his powers by passing these executive orders. The Court are likely to hand down their ruling by June which may have a reasonably big knock-on effect on the presidential campaigns that will be well underway by then. It is a great example of state power vs. federal government power – this is both in terms of the power of the President at a federal level but also the power of the Court, another federal institution. It could also be used in an essay about what cases the Supreme Court choose to take up.
If the Court finds for Obama, it could be used to show the President maintains his power, even in his final year, through executive orders. However, the very fact he is being challenged, and certainly if they find against him, it could be used to show the decreasing power of a President as his term advances and an increasing reliance on ‘imperial’ type powers.
This could also be used to identify the limited progress that Obama has made on immigration as an issue, despite it being a key pledge on his initial election in 2009. Congress have hampered him at so many opportunities on this policy issue; this is a good example of where states have too.