The justices on the court indicated last month that U.S. federal courts in California had moved too fast in ordering the Trump administration to disclose documents concerning its decision to end a program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA, which protected some 800,000 immigrants from deportation.
In an unsigned opinion, the justices instructed the lower courts to consider the administration’s arguments on two threshold legal issues before requiring that the documents be turned over.
The administration contends that its decision to end DACA was within its lawful discretion and that the courts are in any event without jurisdiction to review the matter.
“Either of those arguments, if accepted, likely would eliminate the need for the district court to examine a complete administrative record,” the Supreme Court’s opinion read.
Should the courts reject those arguments, the opinion added, they should, nonetheless, consider requiring fewer documents to be produced and allow the administration to present arguments about whether particular documents are privileged.
There were no noted dissents from the court’s opinion, which appeared to be the product of a compromise and was in contrast to the Supreme Court’s first order in the case on Dec. 8, when the justices split five to four along ideological lines.