Tuesday, December 3, 2019

SCOTUSblog: Argument preview for Guerrero-Lasprilla v. Barr and Ovalles v. Barr

Over at SCOTUSblog, I've got the rundown on Guerrero-Lasprilla v. Barr and Ovalles v. Barr, combined cases set for oral argument on December 9. Here's a short preview:

It has been 18 years since the Supreme Court’s decision in Immigration & Naturalization Service v. St. Cyr, a case about the scope of a jurisdiction-stripping statute aimed at preventing U.S. courts of appeals from considering decisions made by the Board of Immigration Appeals, known as the BIA. In St. Cyr, the court assessed 8 U.S.C. § 1252(a)(2)(C), which strips federal appellate courts of jurisdiction to review deportation orders when noncitizens are convicted of certain crimes. The Supreme Court determined that reading this statute to preclude review of “a pure question of law” would create “substantial constitutional questions.”

Congress responded to the decision in St. Cyr in 2005 by adding a statutory provision: 8 U.S.C. § 1252(a)(2)(D), an exception to the jurisdiction-stripping provision that specifically authorizes the courts of appeals to consider “questions of law.” That provision is now before the court in the consolidated cases Guerrero-Lasprilla v. Barr and Ovalles v. Barr.

Like St. Cyr, these cases ask whether a statute prevents U.S. courts of appeals from reviewing decisions of the BIA. Specifically, they present this question: If a noncitizen files an untimely motion to reopen a deportation case, asks forgiveness for their tardiness and is denied forgiveness by the BIA, can federal appeals courts review the BIA’s decision? Or has Congress stripped those courts of jurisdiction to hear such a case?

Head over to SCOTUSblog for the rest.



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