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Nken v. Holder

Supreme Court of the United States

January 21, 2009, Argued; April 22, 2009, Decided

No. 08-681

Opinion

 [**1754] Chief Justice Roberts delivered the opinion of the Court.

It takes time to decide a case on appeal. Sometimes a little; sometimes a lot. "No court can make time stand still" while it considers an appeal, Scripps-Howard Radio, Inc. v. FCC, 316 U.S. 4, 9, 62 S. Ct. 875, 86 L. Ed. 1229 (1942), and if a court takes the time it needs, the court's decision may in some cases come too late for the party seeking review. That is why it "has always been held, . . . that as part of its traditional equipment for the administration of justice, a federal court can stay the enforcement of a judgment pending the outcome of an appeal." Id., at 9-10, 62 S. Ct. 875, 86 L. Ed. 1229 (footnote omitted). A stay does not make time stand still, but does hold a ruling in abeyance to allow an appellate court the time necessary to review it.

 [*422]  This case involves a statutory provision that sharply restricts the circumstances under which a court may issue an injunction blocking the removal of an alien from this country. The Court of Appeals concluded, and the Government contends, that this provision applies to the granting of a stay by a court of appeals while it considers the legality of a removal order. Petitioner disagrees, and maintains that the authority of  [****9] a court of appeals to stay an order of removal under the traditional criteria governing stays remains fully intact, and is not affected by the statutory provision governing injunctions. We agree with petitioner, and vacate and remand for application of the traditional criteria.

Jean Marc Nken, a citizen of Cameroon, entered the United States on a transit visa in April 2001. In December 2001, he applied for asylum under 8 U.S.C. § 1158, withholding of removal under § 1231(b)(3), and deferral of removal under the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Art. 3, Dec. 10, 1984, S. Treaty Doc. No. 100-20, p 20, 1465 U.N.T.S. 85, see 8 CFR § 208.17 (2008). In his application, Nken claimed he had been persecuted in the past for participation in protests against the Cameroonian Government, and would be subject to further persecution if he returns to Cameroon.

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556 U.S. 418 *; 129 S. Ct. 1749 **; 173 L. Ed. 2d 550 ***; 2009 U.S. LEXIS 3121 ****; 77 U.S.L.W. 4310

JEAN MARC NKEN, Petitioner v. ERIC H. HOLDER, JR., ATTORNEY GENERAL

Subsequent History: On remand at, Remanded by Nken v. Holder, 585 F.3d 818, 2009 U.S. App. LEXIS 23947 (4th Cir., Oct. 30, 2009)

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

Nken v. Mukasey, 555 U.S. 1042, 129 S. Ct. 622, 172 L. Ed. 2d 474, 2008 U.S. LEXIS 8525 (U.S., 2008)

Disposition: Vacated and remanded.

CORE TERMS

removal, alien, injunction, judicial review, removal order, stays, immigration, enjoin, courts, petition for review, court of appeals, final order, merits, deportation, irreparable injury, blocking, chambers, provisions, repealed, parties, suspend, court order, proceedings, alteration, factors, court's decision, irreparable harm, motion to reopen, status quo, order of removal

Civil Procedure, Stays of Judgments, Appellate Stays, General Overview, Immigration Law, Deportation & Removal, Judicial Review, Petitions for Review, Judicial Proceedings, Remedies, Writs, Effect & Execution of Orders, Judicial Review, Governments, Legislation, Interpretation, Writs, All Writs Act, Injunctions, Entry of Judgments