Supreme Court Strikes Down Part Of Immigration Law

Neil Gorsuch sided with the liberal justices on the Supreme Court to strike down part of a federal law that makes it easier to deport immigrants saying the clause is too vague to be enforced. The court heard the case of James Dimaya, who came to the United States legally as a 13-year-old from the Philippines in 1992. After he pleaded no contest to two burglary charges in California, the federal government began deportation proceedings against him, arguing that the burglaries were crimes of violence, which makes the perpetrator subject to deportation, no matter how long they have lived in the United States.  

The category in which Dimaya's convictions fell is a crime "that, by its very nature, involves a substantial risk that physical force ... may be used in the course of committing the offense."

Gorsuch, in siding with the liberal justices, said that "no one should be surprised that the Constitution looks unkindly on any law so vague that reasonable people cannot understand its terms and judges do not know where to begin in applying it."

Justice Elena Kagan cited a 2015 ruling written by late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, that "tells us how to resolve this case." In that decision, Scalia wrote the opinion overturning a federal law that handed out longer prison sentences to repeat criminals.

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