Opinion Analysis: In 5-4 Ruling, SCOTUS Strikes Down Part of Immigration and Nationality Act

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court ruled that part of a federal law used to deport immigrants who have been convicted of aggravated felonies is unconstitutionally vague, and thus violates the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause. The case, Sessions v. Dimaya, concerns the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The INA defines “aggravated felony” by listing types of offenses, often cross-referencing federal criminal statutes. One type of offense listed is a “crime of violence… for which the term of imprisonment is at least one year.” 18 USC § 16 provides the definition of “crime of violence” for the purposes of the INA. § 16 consists of two clauses, which are commonly referred to as the elements clause and the residual clause. The former states that “(a) an offense that has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person or property of another,” while the latter states…

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