Justice Gorsuch Votes With Liberal SCOTUS Wing on Deportation Case and the Sky Does Not Fall

Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch smiles during a lighter moment before answering questions on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 21, 2017, during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)



Today, the US Supreme Court struck down part of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which authorizes removal of non-citizens who have been convicted of what the law calls an aggravated felony,

The petitioner in this case is not terribly sympathetic. He’s a Filipino green card holder named James Dimaya and he came to the attention of Immigration and Customs Enforcement after he drew his second conviction for burglary. The point of contention is the wording in the law, which is identical to the Armed Career Criminal Act that the Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional. That case, Johnson vs. United States, was decided in 2015 in an 8-1 decision authored by Antonin Scalia. IANAL, but as I read the opinion it seems as though the critical flaw is that the judge is not allowed to consider the facts of the particular crime of which the person was convicted but is required to consider how the crime is usually considered.

The decision was a 5-4 vote with Gorsuch joining the liberal wing of the court. This is the take the left wants you to have:

This is the take the hardline anti-immigration folks are taking:



This is the correct take, in my opinion:



Never forget that Antonin Scalia was the uncompromising foe of sloppily written legislation, especially when it could be used to screw defendants. Remember, Scalia was the guy who wrote for the majority in Melendez-Diaz vs. Massachusetts where the Supreme Court said that it wasn’t sufficient to submit a lab report as evidence, the state had to make the lab tech who did the work available to testify.

This is not a sign of Gorsuch going left. It is not a sign that he’s soft on criminal aliens or illegal immigration. It is a sign that he’s hard on poorly written laws that stack the deck in the favor of the government. We should be celebrating this decision.

The case is Sessions vs. Dimaya.


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