Jenner & Block

Firm Team Achieves Landmark Ruling in US Supreme Court DACA Victory

A firm team led by Partners Lindsay C. Harrison and Thomas J. Perrelli achieved a significant Supreme Court victory on behalf of Maria Perales Sanchez, Microsoft, and Princeton University in litigation over the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.  Ms. Perales is a Princeton graduate and beneficiary of the DACA program.

DACA offers deportation relief, work permits, and other benefits to young immigrants who arrived in the United States as children.  On Thursday, June 18, the Supreme Court ruled – in a 5-4 decision – against the Trump administration’s bid to end the DACA program, upholding the district court’s ruling that the government’s decision to end the program was arbitrary and capricious.

The firm team litigated and prevailed before US District Judge John D. Bates, obtaining a judgment vacating the rescission of DACA as arbitrary and capricious.  The government appealed, and after Ms. Harrison argued the case in the DC Circuit, the US Supreme Court granted certiorari before judgment (and granted certiorari in several other cases) to review the legality of the rescission.   

Ms. Harrison, along with Partners Ishan K. Bhabha, Matthew E. PriceSam Hirsch and Ian Heath Gershengorn and former associate Ben Eidelson, developed and advanced a unique theory in their brief for Microsoft, Princeton and Ms. Perales.  The brief argued that the rescission was arbitrary because it failed to consider why rescission, as opposed to lesser alternatives, was the necessary consequence of the Attorney General’s legal conclusions about DACA.   The Supreme Court’s opinion, written by Chief Justice Roberts, tracks that theory and affirms the judgment the Jenner & Block team earned below vacating DACA in its entirety.  The decision restores a program that has proven successful and critically important not only for the Dreamers, but their families, friends, employers, colleagues, colleges and universities, and communities. 

Jenner & Block was honored to work with our clients Maria Perales Sanchez, Microsoft and Princeton University to achieve this historic win. 

Other significant contributors to the team include Associates Alex S. Trepp and Jennifer J. Yun, Paralegals Cheryl Olson and Albert Peterson; and Project Assistant Adam Weidman.

The firm was among those that Law360 named a "Legal Lion" for the victory.