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Supreme Court to hear immigrant removal case

The US Supreme Court [official website] granted certiorari [order list, PDF] Monday in Kawashima v. Holder [docket; cert. petition, PDF] to clarify what counts as an aggravated felony for purposes of removing an immigrant from the country. Petitioners Akio and Fusako Kawashima are natives and citizens of Japan who were living in California as lawful permanent residents. Petitioners were charged with, and pleaded guilty to, filing, and aiding and abetting in filing, a false statement on a corporate tax return. An immigration judge concluded that the convictions were "aggravated felonies" within the meaning of 8 USC § 1101(a)(43)(M)(i) [text], ordering petitioners to be removed. The Board of Immigration Appeals affirmed the decision, and it was later upheld [opinion, PDF] by the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has reached the opposite conclusion.

Also Monday, the court denied certiorari in Khadr v. Obama [docket], in which Guantanamo [JURIST news archive] detainees sought 30 days notice of transfer to countries where they fear torture. Justices Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor would have granted certiorari, but four votes are required for the court to take a case. Justice Elena Kagan recused herself without explanation. The case originally included Canadian detainee Omar Khadr [JURIST news archive], but he has since pleaded guilty to terrorism charges [JURIST report].

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