Gorsuch Casts Deciding Vote on Immigration Case - It May Surprise You

United States Supreme Court

President Trump's nominee to the high court, Justice Neil Gorsuch, joined the liberal majority's 5-4 opinion in deciding that the law passed by Congress failed to define what would qualify as a violent crime. Conviction for a crime of violence subjects an immigrant to deportation and usually speeds up the process.

The Supreme Court agreed with the 9th circuit.

The court's ruling followed a similar one back in 2015, when Justice Scalia declared a key section of criminal law targeting armed violence unconstitutionally vague.

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Still, today's ruling is considered a defeat for the Trump administration, according to media. Most of those focus on ousting illegal immigrants who never had permission to be in the US, while Tuesday's case deals with legal permanent residents who committed crimes while here, and whether those are serious enough to deserve automatic deportation. After he pleaded no contest to two charges of burglary in California, the government began deportation proceedings against him. It falls in line with the thinking of the late justice Antonin Scalia, whom Gorsuch replaced.

The courts originally said that Dimaya had committed an "aggravated felony" under the Immigration and Nationality Act, which authorizes the mandatory deportation of non-citizens who have been convicted of violent crimes. An eight member court did not decide the issue, presumably because the justices were deadlocked 4-4. Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch joined with the more liberal justices to strike the provision.

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