Thursday, June 23, 2016

4-4 Split on Texas v. US; Issues Mathis and Maintains Strong Categorical Approach

REVISED: The Supreme Court has split on Texas v. US. 

(The below written before the Texas decision was released)

The Court did issue Mathis v. United States, an Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA) case addressing the use of the categorical and modified categorical approaches in the federal sentencing context, which will likely have important implications for the immigration consequences of crime.  Justice Kagan authored the majority decision.  Stay tuned for more detailed analysis, but the upshot is that the Court's 5-3 decision affirms a strong version of the categorical approach.  It emphasizes the role of elements - rather than facts - in categorical analysis and will have the effect of limiting the circumstances in which the government can prove that prior convictions fall within the reach of the ACCA (and, in the immigration setting, the Immigration and Nationality Act).  In the meantime, for background on the case, check out Linus Chan and Nicholas Anderson's earlier analysis of the case at


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