Supreme Court declines to hear Guantanamo detainee case
Supreme Court declines to hear Guantanamo detainee case
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[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] on Monday denied certiorari [order list, PDF] in a Guantanamo detainee case [JURIST news archive] but granted certiorari in a case involving deportation. Monday marked the second time the case of Kiyemba v. Obama [docket; CCR backgrounder], involving Chinese Muslim Uighers [JURIST news archive] detained at Guantanamo and seeking an order of release into the US, came before the court. In October 2009, the court granted certiorari [JURIST report] to determine whether it is within the power of the judicial branch to order the release of detainees into the US. However, after learning that the petitioners had received and rejected at least two offers of resettlement in other countries, in March 2010, the court remanded [JURIST report] the case to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit [official website] with orders to reconsider it in light of these new developments. The court of appeals, which had originally decided that the law did not require the detainees’ release into the US, found that no further proceedings were necessary and reinstated its prior opinion. Justice Stephen Breyer issued a statement [text, PDF] respecting Monday’s denial in which he wrote:

In my view, these offers, the lack of any meaningful challenge as to their appropriateness, and the Government’s uncontested commitment to continue to work to resettle petitioners transform petitioners’ claim. Under present circumstances, I see no Government-imposed obstacle to petitioners’ timely release and appropriate resettlement. Accordingly, I join in the Court’s denial of certiorari.

Breyer was joined by Justices Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor in issuing the statement. Justice Elena Kagan did not participate in deciding the case.

In Judulang v. Holder [docket, cert. petition, PDF], the court granted certiorari to determine whether a lawful permanent resident who was convicted by guilty plea of an offense that renders him deportable may seek a waiver of the conviction and thereby avoid removal under former section 212(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) [text]. The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit denied the petitioner’s request for a waiver, holding [opinion, PDF] that his aggravated felony crime of violence was not a ground for exclusion under the statute. The court cited its decision in Abebe v. Gonzalez as controlling the issue. In that case, the court concluded that the lack of a substantially identical statutory counterpart in § 212(a) for aggravated felony sexual abuse of a minor among the grounds for exclusion rendered the alien ineligible for § 212(c) relief.