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

Posted: Apr 17, 2018 1:00 PM

Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch's latest vote is confusing his conservative fans. In a case considering the deportation of an immigrant convicted of a felony, Gorsuch sided with the liberal justices in deciding to allow him to stay in the United States.

James Garcia Dimaya is a lawful resident who came to the U.S. from the Philippines at age 13. He was convicted of residential burglary in 2007 and 2009 and the Obama administration mandated that he be deported in 2010. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed, noting that the term "aggravated felony" under the Immigration and Nationality Act was too vague.

The Supreme Court agreed with the 9th circuit. While conservatives may be frustrated by Gorsuch's vote, the court supposedly used the late conservative Justice Antonin Scalia's reasoning in their opinion. In delivering the court's ruling, Justice Elena Kagan cited a 2015 ruling written by Scalia that struck down a clause of the Armed Career Criminal Act as unconstitutionally vague. That clause allowed past convictions to be viewed as violent felonies if they involved "conduct that presents a serious potential risk of physical injury to another."

Still, today's ruling is considered a defeat for the Trump administration, according to media.