Trump's Supreme Court pick Neil Gorsuch sides with liberals in immigration case

Trump's Supreme Court pick Neil Gorsuch sides with liberals in immigration case

The court's 5-4 decision concerns a provision of federal immigration law that defines a "crime of violence".

The court upheld a 2015 lower court ruling that the Immigration and Nationality Act provision requiring Dimaya's deportation created uncertainty over which crimes may be considered violent, risking arbitrary enforcement in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

It's not clear how widespread the effects of the ruling would be on deportations.

The case, Sessions v. Dimaya, had originated during the Obama administration but had been closely watched to see if the justices would reveal how they will consider the Trump administration's overall push to both limit immigration and increase deportations.

This story is an excerpt.

Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch's latest vote is confusing his conservative fans.

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Michael Kagan of the University of Nevada Las Vegas, an expert on immigration law, notes that Dimaya's challenge began when President Barack Obama was still in office and that Tuesday's ruling is "another sign from the court that due process matters when it comes to deportation".

The decision is a loss for President Trump's administration, which has emphasized stricter enforcement of immigration law.

The Supreme Court agreed with the 9th circuit.

Dimaya, originally from the Phillippines, was admitted to the United States in 1992 as a lawful permanent resident.

Federal authorities ordered Dimaya deported after he was convicted in two California home burglaries, in 2007 and 2009, though neither crime involved violence.

In the federal criminal code, a "crime of violence" includes offenses in which force either was used or carried a "substantial risk" that it would be used. Gorsuch wrote that "no one should be surprised that the Constitution looks unkindly on any law so vague that reasonable people can not understand its terms and judges do not know where to begin in applying it". The government argued among other things that he could be removed from the country because his convictions qualified as crimes of violence that allowed his removal under immigration law. It initially heard arguments in January 2017 when the nine-seat court was one justice short, but decided in June after Gorsuch brought the court to full strength to have the case re-argued.

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