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Nasrallah v. Barr

Supreme Court of the United States

March 2, 2020, Argued; June 1, 2020, Decided

No. 18-1432.

Opinion

Justice Kavanaugh delivered the opinion of the Court.

] Under federal immigration law, noncitizens who commit certain crimes are removable from the United States. During removal proceedings, a noncitizen may raise claims under the international Convention Against Torture, known as CAT. If the noncitizen demonstrates that he likely would be tortured if removed to the designated country of removal, then he is entitled to CAT relief and may not be removed to that country (although he still may be removed to other countries).

] If the immigration judge orders removal and denies CAT relief, the noncitizen may appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals. If the Board of Immigration Appeals orders removal and denies CAT relief, the noncitizen may obtain judicial review in a federal court of appeals of both the final order of removal and the CAT order.

] In the court of appeals, for cases involving noncitizens who have [*6]  committed any crime specified in 8 U. S. C. §1252(a)(2)(C), federal law limits the scope of judicial review. Those noncitizens may obtain judicial review of constitutional and legal challenges to the final order of removal, but not of factual challenges to the final order of removal.

Everyone agrees on all of the above. The dispute here concerns the scope of judicial review of CAT orders for those noncitizens who have committed crimes specified in §1252(a)(2)(C). The Government argues that judicial review of a CAT order is analogous to judicial review of a final order of removal. The Government contends, in other words, that the court of appeals may review the noncitizen’s constitutional and legal challenges to a CAT order, but not the noncitizen’s factual challenges to the CAT order. Nasrallah responds that the court of appeals may review the noncitizen’s constitutional, legal, and factual challenges to the CAT order, although Nasrallah acknowledges that judicial review of factual challenges to CAT orders must be highly deferential.

So the narrow question before the Court is whether, in a case involving a noncitizen who committed a crime specified in §1252(a)(2)(C), the court of appeals should review the noncitizen’s factual challenges [*7]  to the CAT order (i) not at all or (ii) deferentially. ] Based on the text of the statute, we conclude that the court of appeals should review factual challenges to the CAT order deferentially. We therefore reverse the judgment of the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.

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2020 U.S. LEXIS 3040 *

NIDAL KHALID NASRALLAH, PETITIONER v. WILLIAM P. BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL

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

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

Nasrallah v. United States AG, 762 Fed. Appx. 638, 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 4468 (11th Cir., Feb. 14, 2019)

Disposition: 762 Fed. Appx. 638, reversed.

CORE TERMS

noncitizen, alien, Immigration, deportation, tortured, zipper, withholding, consolidated, deferential, merge, treaty

Immigration Law, Asylum, Refugees & Related Relief, Convention Against Torture, Deportation & Removal, Grounds for Deportation & Removal, Criminal Activity, Administrative Appeals, US Board of Immigration Appeals, Judicial Proceedings, Judicial Review, Scope of Review, Standards of Review, Judicial Review, Petitions for Review, Jurisdiction, Writs, Habeas Corpus, Governments, Courts, Authority to Adjudicate, Standards of Review, Substantial Evidence, Legislation, Interpretation, Discretionary Actions, Expedited Removal