Monday, December 12, 2011

Supremes Rule in Favor of Joel Judulang

We have more immigration news from the U.S. Supreme Court.  This morning, the Court in Judulang v. Holder, unanimously ruled in favor of a noncitizen convicted of a crime who was seeking relief under former Immigration & Nationality Act 212(c).  Here was my preview of the issues in the case.  The oral argument is summarized here.

In an unpublished disposition, the Ninth Circuit (Hall and Callahan, Circuit Judges; District Judge Robart sittting by designation) had agreed with the government that, because Judulang’s criminal conviction for voluntary manslaughter was “not substantially similar to any ground for exclusion,” he was ineligible for relief under Section 212(c).  Reversing and remanding for a unanimous Court, Justice Elena Kagan began the opinion as follows:

"This case concerns the Board of Immigration Appeals’ (BIA or Board) policy for deciding when resident aliensmay apply to the Attorney General for relief from deportation under a now-repealed provision of the immigrationlaws. We hold that the BIA’s approach is arbitrary and capricious.

The legal background of this case is complex, but theprinciple guiding our decision is anything but. When an administrative agency sets policy, it must provide a reasoned explanation for its action. That is not a high bar,but it is an unwavering one. Here, the BIA has failed to meet it."

I will post an analysis of the Judulang decision later in the week.


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