Supreme Court hears arguments on visa denials, prisoners’ access to courts

Supreme Court hears arguments on visa denials, prisoners’ access to courts

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] heard oral arguments [day call, PDF] in two cases on Monday. In Kerry v. Din [transcript, PDF] the Supreme Court heard arguments on whether US citizens have the right to judicial review if a consular officer denies a spouse’s visa application. Respondent Fauzia Din, an American citizen from Afghanistan, had sued [Reuters report] the US government after her husband, Afghan citizen Kanishka Berashk, was denied a visa in 2009. The State Department said that the reason for the denial was based on Berashk’s involvement in “terrorist activities.” The government contends that there is no right to appeal after a visa has been denied, and in its argument cited a law stating that consular officers are offered wide discretion in denying visas.

In Coleman-Bey v. Tollefson [transcript, PDF] the Supreme Court heard arguments on whether, under the “three strikes” provision of the Prison Litigation Reform Act [text], a district court’s dismissal of a lawsuit counts as one of those “strikes” while it is still pending on appeal or before the time for seeking appellate review has passed. In 2010 Andre Lee Coleman-Bey filed a civil rights action in the US District Court for the Western District of Michigan [official website], claiming that six of the prison’s employees had violated his constitutional rights of access to the courts. The district court denied his motion to proceed because he had three previous dismissals, or “strikes.” However, Coleman-Bey contends that he has had only two previous “strikes” because his most recent dismissal was still on appeal.