Justices Hear Obama Law-and-Order Immigration Argument

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After enduring withering criticism from Republicans for allegedly defying and twisting the law to go easy on immigrants, the Obama administration urged Supreme Court justices yesterday to strike down a court decision granting regular hearings to many migrants jailed on immigration grounds, Politico reports. The Justice Department’s law-and-order stance took on added real-world significance with Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential election. Trump promised a crackdown on illegal immigration, which could be even more onerous for foreigners if the federal government’s position prevails.

Acting Solicitor General Ian Gershengorn argued that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit distorted immigration statutes when it ruled last year that many immigrants in prolonged detention are entitled to hearings before immigration judges every six months. Gershengorn asserted that the appeals court essentially invented a “one-size-fits-all” policy guaranteeing bail hearings that lawmakers never authorized. “This was a deliberate, categorical judgment by Congress.” The case seemed to split the shorthanded high court along its usual ideological lines, raising the possibility that the eight justices might hold a decision until they get a ninth colleague nominated by Trump and confirmed by the Senate, perhaps next spring.

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