Immigration in the Supreme Court: The Final 2017 Term Scorecard


The Supreme Court decided four core immigration cases in the 2017 Term. The travel ban case was significant but there was much more.

Interestingly, immigrants won as much as the Trump administration. I would argue that the cases support the claim that the Court's immigration jurisprudence continues to become unexceptional and more consistent with mainstream American law.

Sessions v. Dimaya (5-4) by Justice Kagan. The Court invalidated a criminal removal provision of the immigration laws was unconstitutionally vague. Justice Gorsuch joined the majority in a vote that I predicted after the oral argument . It is extremely rare for the Court to strike down a removal provision of the immigration laws. (Immigrant Win)

Jennings v. Rodriguez (5-3) by Justice Alito. The Court found that various provisions of the immigration statute permitted detention pending a removal hearing without a bond hearing and remanded to the court of appeals to determine the constitutionality of the provisions. (Draw; lean toward the government).

Pereira v. Sessions (8-1) by Justice Sotomayor. Finding that the text of the statute was clear and thus that deference was unjustified, the Court rejected the Trump administration's interpretation of the immigration statute and found for the immigrant resisting removal. (Immigrant Win).

Trump v. Hawaii (5-4) by Chief Justice Roberts. The Court upheld President Trump's third version of the travel ban and, in so doing, overruled the Court's infamous decision in Korematsu v. United States upholding the internment of persons of Japanese ancestry. The Court, however, did apply rationality review to the administration's national security rationale for the policy. (Trump Administration Win).

In the 2018 Term, the Court has another immigrant detention case on the docket: Nielsen v. Preap , No. 16-1363 . It presents the questions whether an immigrant convicted of a crime becomes exempt from mandatory detention under 8 U.S.C. § 1226(c) if, after he is released from criminal custody, the Department of Homeland Security does not immediately take him into immigrant detention.

This post originally appeared on Law Professor Blogs © 2014-2017 by Law Professor Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

About The Author

Kevin Johnson Kevin Johnson is Dean, Mabie-Apallas Professor of Public Interest Law, and Professor of Chicana/o Studies. He joined the UC Davis law faculty in 1989 and was named Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in 1998. Johnson became Dean in 2008. He has taught a wide array of classes, including immigration law, civil procedure, complex litigation, Latinos and Latinas and the law, and Critical Race Theory. In 1993, he was the recipient of the law school's Distinguished Teaching Award.Dean Johnson has published extensively on immigration law and civil rights. Published in 1999, his book How Did You Get to Be Mexican? A White/Brown Man's Search for Identity was nominated for the 2000 Robert F. Kennedy Book Award. Dean Johnson’s latest book, Immigration Law and the US-Mexico Border (2011), received the Latino Literacy Now’s International Latino Book Awards – Best Reference Book. Dean Johnson blogs at ImmigrationProf, and is a regular contributor on immigration on SCOTUSblog. A regular participant in national and international conferences, Dean Johnson has also held leadership positions in the Association of American Law Schools and is the recipient of an array of honors and awards. He is quoted regularly by the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and other national and international news outlets.

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