Last year 17 states took a stand against President Obama and his plans to use an executive order to remove nearly 5 million illegal immigrants from the bounds of existing immigration law.

The coalition, now made up of 25 states and led by Texas’ new Governor Greg Abbott, will present oral arguments today advocating both to suspend implementation of Obama’s immigration plan, and for the life of the lawsuit crafted to stop it.

This type of lawsuit is unprecedented in scope. We know that the President holds certain powers of prosecutorial discretion; but do those powers extend so far as to allow a blanket amnesty without any sort of Congressional approval or legislatively-based change to existing law? And if it does, how should the law account for disparate financial impact to the various states?

All novel questions that the court will have to consider.

Via the San Antonio Express-News:

Legal scholars say the issues of deferred action and executive discretion on matters of immigration have been upheld in court many times before, and yet predicting the outcome of this lawsuit is difficult because of its unprecedented scale.

“Under current case law, there is no basis to find this action illegal,” Chishti said. “But there has never been a case of 5 million, and therefore one might argue that prior cases don’t apply.”

Abbott has said Texas shouldered the financial brunt of Obama’s 2012 executive action on deferred action, costing taxpayers tens of millions of dollars for an increased police presence on the border, along with health care and education costs.

Those costs will contribute to the states’ case when they argue that they have standing to sue the federal government. If the states can prove that they or their residents will suffer because of these policies, they will be granted standing to sue; if not, it’s back to the drawing board.

The Administration’s lawyers will argue that the type of deferred action called for in the executive order isn’t unprecedented, and that there’s nothing on the books that specifically limits the scope of prosecutorial discretion to one person, or ten people, or even a thousand people. That being said, there’s also nothing on the books that explicitly addresses the issue. This is the states’ opportunity to lay out the case for the type of 10th Amendment-style pushback that will act as precedent to roll back the government in other policy areas such as health care and regulatory control.

This is win-win for both the coalition states and for small government activists. Amnesty advocates will argue that this is nothing but a stunt, but while they’re screaming about local politics, the states’ lawyers will be shining a spotlight on just how massive an overreach this executive order really is.

This is our opportunity to stop talking about this issue in the context of the current administration, and start emphasizing the underlying problem that is the progressive idea of expanding, centralized government. Obama will be out of office in two years, but if this policy is allowed to stand, its effects will mean millions of taxpayer dollars flushed down the toilet to fund the Democrats’ latest fever dream.