The following is an excerpt from MARK JOSEPH STERN | April 17, 2018 | Slate.com |
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court struck a blow against the federal government’s deportation regime, invalidating a key provision of a statute often used to expel legal immigrants living in the United States. The court’s 5–4 decision will hinder the Trump administration’s ability to deport non-citizens, a victory for immigration advocates who’ve long charged that the law in question violates the Constitution. But what may be most remarkable about Monday’s ruling is the voting lineup: For the first time, Justice Neil Gorsuch cast a decisive fifth vote with the more liberal justices to reach a progressive outcome. Gorsuch is not drifting to the left. But his vote indicates that the justice has the same independent streak that led his role model, Justice Antonin Scalia, to occasionally push the law leftward.
Tuesday’s ruling in Sessions v. Dimaya revolves around a clause buried in the Immigration and Nationality Act. The law allows the detention and deportation of any alien convicted of an “aggravated felony,” which includes a “crime of violence.” That encompasses any felony that “by its nature, involves a substantial risk” of “physical force against the person or property.”
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