Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Pending Immigration-Related Cases in the Supreme Court


The U.S. Supreme Court is nearing the end of the Term.  A number of important cases remain to be decided, including cases touching on the Affordable Care Act, confederate flags and license plates, and more.  David Savage reviews some of the high profile cases that are before the Court.

Several cases will be of special interest to ImmigrationProf readers. 

Kerry v. Din revisits the scope of the doctrine of consular nonreviewability, a cousin of the plenary power doctrine, which historically has immunized the visa decisions of State Department consular officers from judicial review.  This case is of great practical importance to the many visa applicants who are denied visas at American embassies around the world and have no form of relief available if an error has been committed. 

In Mellouli v. Lynch, the Court looks at the law's provisions for removal based on drug-related convictions, in this case a "drug paraphernalia" conviction for possessing a sock used to conceal a prescription drug.  It is one of a number of cases taken by the Supreme Court in recent years that address the removal of lawful permanent residents based on minor drug convictions.  See, e.g., Moncrieffe v. Holder (2013) (rejecting mandatory removal based on conviction for possession of the equivalent of 2-3 marijuana cigarettes); Carachuri-Rosendo v. Holder (2010) (rejecting mandatory removal based on possession of one tablet of a prescription drug).

Zivotofsky vs. Kerry involves the passport of a 12-year-old American born in Jerusalem.  It raises the question whether Congress or the president has the final word on foreign policy.   In 2002, Congress passed a law giving U.S. parents a right to have "Israel" listed as the birthplace for a child born in Jerusalem.  Presidents George W. Bush and Obama refused to abide by it, noting that both Israelis and Palestinians claim the city as their capital. The U.S. government argues that the law interferes with a president's "exclusive authority to recognize foreign states" and handle a sensitive matter of foreign policy.



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