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The federal judge who first ruled against President Obama's immigration reforms, a case currently pending in the Supreme Court, has made another bold and far-reaching move in connection to the case. After having found misconduct on the part of the government attorneys in the immigration case, District Judge Andrew S. Hanen of the Southern District of Texas has put himself in charge of their ethics training.

But it's not just those specific attorneys that Hanen wants to ethically reeducate. It's every single DOJ lawyer who appears in court -- in any court, federal or state, in 26 specific states over the next five years. If the order stands, Judge Hanen may soon become a very busy man. But, he's only doing it to help out the Supreme Court, Hanen says.

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments on President Obama's immigration reform plan today. Under Obama's immigration plan, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans, millions of immigrants could be spared deportation and given a path to lawful status. Twenty-six states, led by Texas, have sued to halt it, arguing that the plan is beyond the president's power.

At oral arguments, the eight-justice Court seemed evenly divided along ideological lines. That raises the prospect of a deadlocked, equally divided non-decision in one of the Court's most important cases of the year.

The Supreme Court agreed to hear a challenge to President Obama's executive actions on immigration on Tuesday. The case involves a challenge by 26 states, led by Texas, to the President's plans to halt deportations for millions of immigrants, including the undocumented parents of U.S. citizens.

In granting cert to United States v. Texas, the Supreme Court also ensured that it will play a major role in the debate over immigration in America. Oral arguments are scheduled for April with a decision likely to come in June -- right in the middle of what is sure to be a frenzied presidential campaign.

On Monday, the Fifth Circuit struck down President Obama's immigration plan. That plan, which would halt many deportations and provide work permits to five million undocumented immigrants, exceeded the authority of the Executive branch. Now, the President is seeking Supreme Court review, setting up the Court up for a potentially dramatic ruling next June, on the eve of Democratic and Republican parties' nominating conventions.

Will SCOTUS take the bait?

The Supreme Court released three new opinions this morning, slowly chipping away at the now 17 remaining cases it has to decide before the term's end two weeks from today. Chief among those three was Kerry v. Din, in which the Justices ruled that an American woman could not challenge the denial of a visa to her foreign-born husband on due process grounds.

Fauzia Din, an American citizen, had requested a visa for her husband, Kanishka Berashk, but her request was denied. The State Department refused to elaborate beyond stating that Berashk, an Afghani citizen who had been a government worker under the Taliban, had been involved in terrorist activities. Din argued that her husband's denial violated her due process rights and liberty interest in being together with her husband. The case is one of the first times the Court has taken up substantive due process in some time.

Today's Notable Denials, SCOTUS Snoozers, and More Odd Lineups

Were you one of those people who loved logic games? I was.

As an LSAT teacher, I did every logic game ever released, including the weird non-standard games from the 1980s. Despite my affinity for logic games, however, today's batch of opinions was no fun at all: pluralities, partial concurrences and dissents, and one decision sure to titillate Court-watchers: a unanimous opinion dealing with the bankruptcy courts' ability to hear "core" and "non-core" matters as defined in Stern. (And no, there won't be a quiz on that last part.)

But it wasn't all mind-numbing news -- there were notable denials, interesting cross-ideological splits in the Court, and more. Here's the quick version of the day's news:

Grants: Search, Career Criminal, and the Infamous Israel Passport

More Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA) cases? Say it ain't so, SCOTUS.

Alas, a criminal with a white supremacist career, and a lot of arms, just made his way to the High Court, along with another criminal case, which involves the police finding bliss (and a permissible search) in ignorance.

And then there is the small matter of World War III, or at least the over-hyped case involving a conflict of power between Congress and the Executive, Israel and Palestine, Jerusalem, and the label on a citizen's passport -- no big deal, right?

A Couple of Joints (Probably) Won't Get You Deported

Adrian Moncrieffe, a Jamaican citizen, came to the U.S. legally in 1984, when he was three. During a 2007 traffic stop, police found 1.3 grams of marijuana in his car. That’s about two or three joints. Moncrieffe pleaded guilty in Georgia to possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.

Under a state statute providing more lenient treatment to first-time offenders, the trial court withheld entering a judgment of conviction or imposing any term of imprisonment, and instead required that Moncrieffe complete five years of probation, after which his charge will be expunged altogether.

The federal government, however, was not so generous, and tried to have Moncrieffe deported.

Should Courts Apply Padilla Retroactively?

Two years ago, the Supreme Court ruled in Padilla v. Kentucky that immigrants have a right to effective counsel and must be told about possible deportation stemming from a guilty plea. Next week, the Court will take up the issue once again, deciding whether Padilla applies retroactively.

The case, Chaidez v. U.S., involves Roselva Chaidez, a Mexican immigrant who became a lawful permanent resident in 1977. In June 2003, Chaidez was indicted on three counts of mail fraud in connection with a staged accident insurance scheme in which the victims' loss exceeded $10,000. On the advice of counsel, Chaidez pleaded guilty to two counts in December 2003, and was sentenced to four years' probation.

Court Decides Gutierrez, Taniguchi

As June approaches, and the case year comes to a close, the Supreme Court opinions will start rolling in. It’s only 36 days until the last day of the term, and the Court has yet to release opinions in 22 of the 69 cases argued this year.

Monday, the Nine issued three Supreme Court opinions. We already covered the Court’s decision in Astrue v. Capato in this blog; now we’re moving on to the other two cases decided this week, Holder v. Gutierrez and Taniguchi v. Kan Pacific Saipan, Ltd.