Until today, one of President Donald Trump’s greatest accomplishments and what many considered a legacy move was appointing Neil Gorsuch to the United States Supreme Court.
But today, as Gorsuch was the tie-breaking vote for an ultra-important immigration issue, that legacy move may have just eroded, as Gorsuch sided with the liberal judges in a total shocker of a decision.
Business Insider reports:
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court said Tuesday that part of a federal law that makes it easier to deport immigrants who have been convicted of crimes is too vague to be enforced.
The court’s 5-4 decision concerns a provision of immigration law that defines a “crime of violence,” a conviction of which subjects an immigrant to deportation and usually speeds up the process.
A federal appeals court in San Francisco previously struck down the provision as too vague, and the Supreme Court agreed.
The appeals court based its ruling on a 2015 Supreme Court decision that struck down a similarly worded part of another federal law that imposes longer prison sentences for repeat criminals.
Justice Elena Kagan wrote that the 2015 decision “tells us how to resolve this case.”
The decision is a loss for the Trump administration, which, like the Obama administration before it, had defended the provision at issue before the Supreme Court. And it comes amid a focus on immigration by President Donald Trump.
The case the high court ruled in involves James Dimaya, a native of the Philippines who came to the United States legally as a 13-year-old in 1992. After he pleaded no contest to two charges of burglary in California, the government began deportation proceedings against him, arguing, among other things, that he could be removed from the country because his convictions qualified as crimes of violence that allowed his removal under immigration law.
The case was initially argued in January 2017 before a court that was short a member because the seat of Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February 2016, had not been filled. The eight-member court didn’t decide the issue, presumably because the justices were deadlocked 4-4.
After Justice Neil Gorsuch joined the court last April, the justices heard the case re-argued. Gorsuch joined the court’s more liberal justices in finding the clause too vague.