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Jennings v. Rodriguez

Supreme Court of the United States

November 30, 2016, Reargued October 3, 2017 Argued; February 27, 2018, Decided

No. 15-1204.

Opinion

Justice Alito delivered the opinion of the Court, except as to Part II. 1

Every day, immigration officials must determine whether to admit or remove the many aliens who have arrived at an official “port of entry” (e.g., an international airport or border crossing) or who have been apprehended trying to enter the country at an unauthorized location. Immigration officials must also determine on a daily basis whether there are grounds for removing [***8]  any of the aliens who are already present inside the country. The vast majority of these determinations are quickly made, but in some cases deciding whether an alien should be admitted or removed is not as easy. As a result, Congress has authorized immigration officials to detain some classes of aliens during the course of certain immigration proceedings. Detention during those proceedings gives immigration officials time to determine an alien’s status without running the risk of the alien’s either absconding or engaging in criminal activity before a final decision can be made.

In this case we are asked to interpret three provisions of U. S. immigration law that authorize the Government to detain aliens in the course of immigration proceedings. All parties appear to agree that the text of these provisions, when read most naturally, does not give detained aliens the right to periodic bond hearings during the course of their detention. But by relying on the constitutional-avoidance canon of statutory interpretation, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that detained aliens have a statutory right to periodic bond hearings under the provisions at issue.

] Under the constitutional-avoidance [***9]  canon, when statutory language is susceptible of multiple interpretations, a court may shun an interpretation that raises serious constitutional doubts and instead may adopt an alternative that avoids those problems. But a court relying on that canon still must interpret the statute, not rewrite it. Because the Court of Appeals in this case adopted implausible constructions of the three immigration provisions at issue, we reverse its judgment and remand for further proceedings.

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138 S. Ct. 830 *; 200 L. Ed. 2d 122 **; 2018 U.S. LEXIS 1516 ***; 86 U.S.L.W. 4094; 27 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 78; 2018 WL 1054878

DAVID JENNINGS, ET AL., PETITIONERS v. ALEJANDRO RODRIGUEZ, ET AL., INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF ALL OTHERS SIMILARLY SITUATED

Notice: The LEXIS pagination of this document is subject to change pending release of the final published version.

Subsequent History: On remand at, Remanded by Rodriguez v. Marin, 909 F.3d 252, 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 32650 (9th Cir., Nov. 19, 2018)

Prior History:  [***1] ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT

Rodriguez v. Robbins, 804 F.3d 1060, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 18758 (9th Cir. Cal., Oct. 28, 2015)

Disposition: Reversed and remanded.

CORE TERMS

alien, detention, bail, detained, asylum, proceedings, confinement, immigration, custody, authorize, removal, court of appeals, provisions, deportation, noncitizens, removal proceedings, cases, statutory provisions, removal order, bail hearing, canon, immigration officer, arriving, sentence, parole, words, judicial review, Dictionary, seekers, purposes

Constitutional Law, Case or Controversy, Constitutional Questions, Necessity of Determination, Immigration Law, Enforcement of Immigration Laws, Immigration Officers, Deportation & Removal, Administrative Proceedings, Bond, Custody & Detention, Grounds for Deportation & Removal, Inadmissibility at Entry, General Overview, Border Procedures, Governments, Legislation, Interpretation, Judicial Proceedings, Jurisdiction, Civil Procedure, Class Actions, Prerequisites for Class Action, Maintainability, Fundamental Rights, Procedural Due Process, Scope of Protection