The left is unhappy with the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court is currently split 6-3 in favor of conservatives. However, a recent ruling proves that even the most right-wing justices fall on the side of the law rather than their own political leanings.
Conservative Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Amy Coney Barrett sided with the more liberal justices to decide a technical issue on a federal immigration case, the Washington Examiner reported. The crux of the matter involved how the government sent deportation notices to an illegal immigrant.
According to The Hill, the decision was 6-3 with Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Samuel Alito dissenting. The case was brought on behalf of Guatemalan immigrant Agusto Niz-Chavez who was sent a deportation notice in 2013 when he’d been in the country for eight years.
The timeline is significant because had his deportation notice been deemed adequate, it would have “stopped the clock” and excluded him from taking advantage of a loophole that allows immigrants who have been in the country more than ten years extra leniency. Instead, the case hinged upon the government’s failure to provide a single comprehensive document that outlined everything required for his deportation hearing at the eight-year mark.
Moreover, the whole case actually came down to the article “a” in front of the language about the requirement for sending deportation notice. Because the information given to Niz-Chavez was spread over several documents was considered not adequate after the court’s decision, the man would be allowed to stay.
“At one level, today’s dispute may seem semantic, focused on a single word, a small one at that,” Gorsuch wrote in his opinion. “But words are how the law constrains power. In this case, the law’s terms ensure that, when the federal government seeks a procedural advantage against an individual, it will at least supply him with a single and reasonably comprehensive statement of the nature of the proceedings against him,” he added.
Kavanaugh said in the dissenting opinion that it improperly sided with Niz-Chavez, stating the decision meant “that, in order to stop the 10-year clock, the Government must provide written notice in one document, not two,” he wrote. “I find the Court’s conclusion rather perplexing as a matter of statutory interpretation and common sense.”
Legal matters are often decided based on one or two words, so it isn’t necessarily a valid criticism by Kavanaugh. However, one thing it does show is that these justices can decide cases based on the evidence without injecting their own political opinions — at least for conservative justices, that is.