Supreme Court rules woman cannot protest husband’s visa denial
Supreme Court rules woman cannot protest husband’s visa denial

The US Supreme Court [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] 5-4 Monday in Kerry v. Din [SCOTUSblog materials] that the government’s denial of a man’s visa application did not violate his wife’s constitutional rights. Respondent Fauzia Din, an American citizen from Afghanistan, had sued the US government after her husband, Afghan citizen Kanishka Berashk, was denied a visa in 2009. The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit had allowed the challenge [opinion]. In an opinion by Justice Antonin Scalia, joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Clarence Thomas, the Supreme Court vacated that decision:

The state action of which Din complains is the denial of Berashk’s visa application. Naturally, one would expect him—not Din—to bring this suit. But because Berashk is an unadmitted and nonresident alien, he has no right of entry into the United States, and no cause of action to press in furtherance of his claim for admission. … So, Din attempts to bring suit on his behalf, alleging that the Government’s denial of her husband’s visa application violated her constitutional rights. … In particular, she claims that the Government denied her due process of law when, without adequate explanation of the reason for the visa denial, it deprived her of her constitutional right to live in the United States with her spouse. There is no such constitutional right.

Justice Anthony Kennedy filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, which was joined by Justice Clarence Thomas. Justice Stephen Breyer filed a dissenting opinion, joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

The court granted certiorari in the case in October and heard arguments [JURIST reports] in February. The State Department said that the reason for the denial was based on Berashk’s involvement in “terrorist activities,” but did not specify any further what that entailed.