The Supreme Court just made it easier for federal authorities to deport immigrants who have committed crimes in the United States.
The 5-4 ruling comes as a major victory for the Trump administration, which has focused on restoring law and order in the country.
The ruling upholds a lower court’s decision to rule that Andre Martello Barton could not have his deportation orders canceled.
Barton made the appeal to have his deportation canceled based on a long-time U.S. law that allows some longtime legal residents to avoid expulsion.
However, Because Barton has a criminal conviction, his request was invalidated and deportation is on the table.
The hardline stance on legal and illegal immigration ensures that people come into the country based on merit and pose no threat to those living here legally.
More details on this groundbreak case below:
Many have noted that the decision was split based on party lines, with some even claiming that the liberal justices voted to protect criminals over law-abiding Americans.
In his majority opinion, Justice Brett Kavanaugh emphasized that the responsibility of the justices was to uphold the Constitutional interpretation of the law.
Reuters has more details on the implications of this landmark case:
The court ruled 5-4 to uphold a lower court decision that found a legal permanent resident from Jamaica named Andre Martello Barton ineligible to have his deportation canceled under a U.S. law that lets some longtime legal residents avoid expulsion. The conservative justices were in the majority, with the liberal justices dissenting.
Barton, a 42-year-old car repair shop manager and father of four, was targeted for deportation after criminal convictions in Georgia for drug and gun crimes.
The decision could affect thousands of immigrants with criminal convictions - many for minor offenses - who reside legally in the United States. There are more than 13 million legal U.S. permanent residents, also known as “green card” holders, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
Glenn Fogle, an attorney for Barton, called the ruling “extremely disappointing” and expressed concern for his client, who has already been sent back to Jamaica.
“My heart goes out to Mr. Barton and his family as he is now effectively barred from ever rejoining them in the United States,” Fogle said.
The Trump administration argued against Barton’s bid to avoid deportation.
Trump’s hardline stance on both legal and illegal immigration has been a key feature of his presidency and his 2020 re-election campaign. He has justified his immigration crackdown in part by citing crimes committed by immigrants.
Permanent residents selected for deportation may apply to have their removal canceled if they have been living continuously in the United States for at least seven years, except if they have committed certain serious felonies.
At issue in the case was the meaning of a 1996 change - known as the “stop-time rule” - in U.S. immigration law. This provision disqualifies immigrants who commit certain crimes from this discretionary benefit by stopping the clock on their period of continuous residency.
The federal government had said the rule was triggered in Barton’s case because his assault charge would bar his admission into the country, even though as of 1996 he had resided in the United States too long to be declared deportable for that crime.
During his campaign, President Trump pledged to keep Americans safe by reforming the immigration system.
This involves building the wall, yes, but it also means reforming our entry system to be a merit-based system.
The ruling means that criminal offenders may potentially be deported from the United States.
Predictably, rather than reporting on the ruling, many on the left have tried to politicize the Court's interpretation of the law.
CNN's headline covering the story reads, "How the Supreme Court has enabled Trump on immigration."
However, what the media failed to report is that the Supreme Court also ruled that serious criminal convictions reached by non-unanimous juries are unconstitutional.
In other words, a criminal conviction requires a unanimous jury.
Civil rights activists claim that this will help reduce the number of wrongful convictions, including those that may result in the deportation of immigrants.
CNBC has more on this ruling:
The Supreme Court on Monday ruled that serious criminal convictions reached by non-unanimous juries are unconstitutional, delivering a win for civil rights advocates who traced the connections between split jury convictions to racist state efforts to minimize the role of black jurors.
Justice Neil Gorsuch, writing for a divided court, said there “can be no question” that the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution requires unanimity in state courts. The court had previously held that the requirement only applied at the federal level.
Gorsuch was joined in part by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Brett Kavanaugh. Justice Clarence Thomas agreed with the judgement but didn’t join Gorsuch’s opinion. Justice Samuel Alito dissented, joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and in part by Justice Elena Kagan.
The decision was widely expected and will have limited impact nationwide, as the only two states that have allowed split jury convictions in recent years are Louisiana and Oregon. Those two states could now face more than a thousand requests for retrials, according to documents they submitted to the justices.
The case was brought by Evangelisto Ramos, who in 2016 was convicted on a murder charge in Louisiana by a vote of 10-2 from a 12-person jury. Ramos has maintained he is innocent of the crime. The case is known as Ramos v. Louisiana, No. 18-5924.
As Ramos’ case was working its way through the legal system, a local Louisiana newspaper published an extensive investigation into split juries, finding that they disproportionately harmed black defendants.
Voters in Louisiana outlawed split juries in 2018, for crimes committed in 2019 and beyond, leaving Oregon as the only state where it was still possible to face conviction from a divided panel.
Gorsuch pointed to the racist origins of split juries in his opinion striking them down, writing that courts in both states had “frankly acknowledged” the history.
“Why do Louisiana and Oregon allow nonunanimous convictions? Though it’s hard to say why these laws persist, their origins are clear,” he wrote.
The Trump appointee cited comments from a committee chairman at the state’s 1898 constitutional convention, where Louisiana’s non-unanimous verdicts were first endorsed, who said the purpose of the convention was to “establish the supremacy of the white race.”
Oregon’s rule, Gorsuch wrote, “can be similarly traced to the rise of the Ku Klux Klan” and efforts to dilute the influence of racial, ethnic and religious minorities on Oregon juries.
The court’s majority opinion overturned the 1972 case Apodaca v. Oregon, which applied the unanimity requirement to federal juries but not the states. Apodaca was the Supreme Court’s last remaining exception to its general rule of applying Bill of Rights protections equally at the state and federal level, Ginsburg remarked in an opinion handed down in February.
Though liberals have attempted to politicize the Court, it is their job to interpret and uphold the law.
Thanks to President Trump, we have two new justices who are respected in their practice and commitment to Constitutional law and authority!