WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) — The nation’s highest court is set to rule on pending decisions that could impact millions of Americans who identify as members of the LGBTQ community or who are protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
The Supreme Court, which has a conservative majority, will decide as early as Monday whether to allow the Trump administration to abolish protections that permit more than 650,000 immigrants to work in the U.S., free from the threat of deportation under DACA.
That outcome would “destroy lives,” says Justice Sonia Sotomayor, one the court’s liberals who repeatedly suggested the administration has not adequately justified its decision to end the seven-year-old program.
If the court agrees with the administration in the DACA case, Congress could follow up by voting to put the program on surer legal footing.
Associated Press Supreme Court reporter Mark Sherman says if court rules the President didn’t go about ending DACA the right way under federal law, it could become an issue in the 2020 United States Presidential election.
“That also could make it an issue in the presidential race, but it also means, in all likelihood that people with DACA protections would be protected at least through the election,” Sherman says.
The seemingly divided Supreme Court is also set to rule onwhether federal civil rights law protects LGBTQ people from job discrimination.
The justices are weighing whether a key provision of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of sex should encompass both sexual orientation and transgender status.
The Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law School estimates there are more than 11 million LGBTQ people in the United States, of whom 8 million work, Sherman says.
“In states without any protection, you can’t go to court and sue and say, ‘I was fired merely for being who I am,” he says.
The high court heard arguments last year and typically releases rulings on Mondays in the spring.