The one-sentence opinion read: “The judgment is affirmed by an equally divided Court.”
The 4-4 split, caused by the vacancy left by Justice Scalia’s death, has stalled the Obama policy (called called U.S. vs. Texas) that would have protected millions of people in the United States illegally from deportation.
The tie vote does not strike down the proposal, but means that the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals’ November 2015 decision rejecting the policy stands until the next president decides whether to continue defending this case in court. For the immigrants in question, it means their legal status remain unchanged and they remain subject to deportation.
The U.S. Supreme Court split 4-4 Thursday over a challenge to President Obama’s immigration policy, a result that prevents the administration from putting the program into effect during the rest of him term. Announced in late 2014, it would shield more than four million people from deportation.