With this week’s orders list, the Texas Supreme Court issued one opinion and did not grant any new cases for review.

The opinion was in In re E.N.C., J.A.C., S.A.L., N.A.G. and C.G.L., No. 11-0713 , a case that was argued last month. The opinion, by Justice Green, is the first signed opinion of the term.

The Court will hear oral arguments in Austin beginning on Monday morning. The next scheduled private conference is a week from Monday (Oct. 22, 2012).

Parental termination after deportation

This was a parental-termination case with complicated facts, involving a parent who had been deported to Mexico. The Texas Supreme Court held that the State had not established the predicate to terminate parental rights by clear and convincing evidence.

Along the way, the opinion discusses the intersection between (increasingly strict) federal immigration law and (constitutionally protected) parental rights. The Court noted that, under the lower court’s reasoning, “the mere threat of deportation or incarceration resulting from an unlawful act, regardless of severity, would establish endangerment.” As to that:

We disagree with that analysis. Many offenses can lead to an immigrant’s deportation, including entering the country unlawfully. See, e.g., 8 U.S.C. §§ 1227, 1325. Under the court’s reasoning, virtually any offense that could lead to deportation — even a minor one committed long before the parent’s children were born — would create such an unstable and uncertain environment as to establish endangerment, subjecting countless immigrants to the potential loss of their children.

The Texas Supreme Court reversed the order of parental termination and remanded to the trial court for further proceedings.