Wednesday, December 11, 2019
Over at SCOTUSblog you can find my analysis of oral argument in the combined cases of Guerrero-Lasprilla v. Barr and Ovalles v. Barr, which are all about the meaning of 8 U.S.C. § 1252(a)(2)(D).
But first, I'm going to tell you something I didn't write in that piece: I CALLED IT.
Here's the deal. Way back nine days ago when I did an argument preview, I concluded with the following thoughts:
Lurking in the background of this case are formidable policy questions that are largely ignored by the parties. Would review of equitable-tolling issues overwhelm the courts of appeals? To what extent should federal courts defer to the findings and conclusions of the BIA? Look for the justices to potentially ask questions about these larger issues during oral argument on December 9.
As it turns out, during oral argument, they focused on just that. Well, okay, not JUST that. The court didn't ask whether equitable tolling case might overwhelm the courts of appeals so much as question whether allowing review of such cases would open the floodgates by authorizing review of issues Congress intended to foreclose. And the court didn't ask whether and how federal courts defer to the findings and conclusions of the BIA so much as focus on whether the government's reading of the statute would prevent review of numerous BIA decisions no matter how erroneous.
But I'm still officially calling it a win. It's WAY better than that time I opined to the WSJ that the case United States v. Texas was going to come down to standing.