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What Does Judge Garland’s Nomination Mean for Immigration Law?

I am pleased that President Obama nominated a Supreme Court nominee today. Judge Garland is the senior judge on the DC Circuit, the second most important federal circuit in the nation. This court hears very important cases relating to executive action. The court has recently heard Sheriff Arpaio’s case against the Obama Administration relating to executive actions. Judge Garland’s views when it comes to immigration are very important since the Supreme Court will decide several big immigration cases during this term. It is unlikely that Judge Garland will take part of the pending cases, since he might not get confirmed any time soon.

Looking and the Judge’s decisions relating to immigration could be an indicator of his possible rulings when confirmed to the Supreme Court. Judge Garland was a panel member is 2005 in case challenging the Attorney General’s discretion when granting or refusing to issue a waiver for labor certification. The judges in that case sided with the Attorney General allowing him to make such decisions. The District Court had denied the case on jurisdictional grounds since it did not have jurisdiction to review the Attorney General’s discretionary decisions. To read the opinion follow this link.

Judge Garland also represented the government in a 1980 case challenging the government’s power to revoke deferred departures for Iranian nationals. The case raised several points of law including due process violations. The court denied the plaintiff’s challenge. This case, however, might not be indicative, since the Judge was an assistant US Attorney, and might not be indicative of his future views on the Supreme Court.

Judge Garland’s nomination is a very important step. The Supreme Court will definitely deal with several immigration cases in the future. Judge Garland’s record might be inconclusive when it comes to the issue, but his confirmation will take care of many of the possible consequences of a 4-4 decision by the court. I will update this post soon.

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