Appeals Panel Considering Executive Amnesty Is Two GOP Appointees, One Democrat

Pat Sullivan/Associated Press

Judges appointed by Republican presidents are in the majority on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals panel that will consider the Obama administration’s appeal to stay a lower court’s preliminary injunction on its executive amnesty programs.

Monday the Fifth Circuit announced the three judges who will preside over the appeal’s oral arguments. They are Judge Jerry Smith who was nominated by Ronald Reagan, Judge Jennifer Walker Elrod who was nominated by George W. Bush, and Judge Stephen Higginson who was nominated by Barack Obama.

The Obama administration is seeking a stay on the injunction federal district court judge Andrew Hanen placed on the administration’s executive amnesty programs. Hanen denied a motion to stay the injunction last week.

Politico reports that the court will focus on whether to stay the hold while the government appeals the lower court’s decision.

“The same three judges are unlikely to make the ultimate decision on the legal merits of the lower court judge’s ruling,” Politico reports. “Instead, the current panel is assigned to wrestle with the immediate question of whether the injunction should remain in effect while an expedited appeal goes forward.”

A coalition of 26 states is currently challenging the executive amnesty. Texas is leading the group that includes Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.