The Supreme Court announced on Thursday that it had deadlocked in a case challenging President Obama’s immigration plan, effectively ending what Mr. Obama had hoped would become one of his central legacies. The program would have shielded as many as five million undocumented immigrants from deportation and allowed them to legally work in the United States.
The 4-4 tie, which left in place an appeals court ruling blocking the plan, amplified the contentious election-year debate over the nation’s immigration policy and presidential power.
When the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case in January, it seemed poised to issue a major ruling on presidential power. That did not materialize, but the court’s action, which established no precedent and included no reasoning, was nonetheless perhaps its most important statement this term.
The decision was just nine words long: “The judgment is affirmed by an equally divided court.”