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Neil Gorsuch casts the deciding vote for Supreme Court to side with immigrant facing deportation

Author: Melissa Quinn, The Washington Examiner - April 17, 2018 - Updated: April 18, 2018

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Justice Neil Gorsuch, considered a member of the court’s conservative wing, joined Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Kagan, who make up the court’s liberal wing. (Photo by Graeme Jennings/Washington Examiner)

The Supreme Court sided with an immigrant convicted of residential burglary and facing deportation and found the term “crime of violence” was unconstitutionally vague.

The court ruled 5-4, with Justice Elena Kagan delivering the opinion. The justices affirmed a decision from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Justice Neil Gorsuch, nominated by President Trump and considered a member of the court’s conservative wing, cast the deciding vote by joining Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Kagan, who make up the court’s liberal wing.

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Anthony Kennedy dissented.

The justices heard the case last year, but deadlocked 4-4 after Justice Antonin Scalia’s death.

It was heard again on the first day of the term that began in October, indicating Gorsuch, the newest member of the court, would cast the deciding vote.

James Garcia Dimaya, a lawful permanent resident who immigrated to the U.S. from the Philippines at 13, brought the case.

Dimaya was convicted of residential burglary in 2007 and 2009, though neither of the crimes involved violence. The Department of Homeland Security under the Obama administration, though, sought to deport Dimaya in 2010 after determining the crimes could be considered crimes of violence.

The Justice Department’s Board of Immigration Appeals agreed with the Obama administration’s conclusion that Dimaya should be deported, as one of the convictions constituted an “aggravated felony” and therefore made him subject to mandatory deportation.

But the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed and decided the definition of “aggravated felony” under the Immigration and Nationality Act, which incorporates the definition of “crime of violence,” was unconstitutionally vague.

The government then appealed the ruling to the high court.

Melissa Quinn, The Washington Examiner