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Reno v. American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Comm.

Supreme Court of the United States

November 4, 1998, Argued ; February 24, 1999, Decided

No. 97-1252


 [*472]   [***947]   [**938]  JUSTICE SCALIA delivered the opinion of the Court. 1 

 Respondents sued petitioners for allegedly targeting them for deportation because of their affiliation with a politically unpopular group. While their suit was pending, Congress  [*473]  passed the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, 110 Stat. 3009-546 (IIRIRA), which contains a provision restricting judicial review of the Attorney General's "decision or action" to "commence proceedings, adjudicate cases, or execute removal orders against any alien under this Act." 8 U.S.C. § 1252(g) (1994 ed., Supp. III). The issue before us is whether, as petitioners contend, this provision deprives the federal courts of jurisdiction over respondents'  [****5]  suit.

The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), a division of the Department of Justice, instituted deportation proceedings in 1987 against Bashar Amer, Aiad Barakat, Julie Mungai, Amjad Obeid, Ayman Obeid, Naim Sharif, Khader Hamide, and Michel Shehadeh, all of whom belong to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a group that the Government characterizes as an international terrorist and communist organization. The INS charged all eight under the McCarran-Walter Act, which, though now repealed, provided at the time for the deportation of aliens who "advocate . . . world communism." See 8 U.S.C. §§ 1251(a)(6)(D), (G)(v), and (H) (1982 ed.).  [**939]  In addition, the INS charged the first six, who were only temporary residents, with routine status violations such as overstaying a visa and failure to maintain student status. Respondents Barakat and Sharif were subsequently granted legalization and are no longer deportable based on the original status violations. Brief for Petitioners 11, n. 5. 2 

 [****6]  Almost immediately, the aliens filed suit in District Court, challenging the constitutionality of the anticommunism provisions of the McCarran-Walter Act and seeking declaratory and injunctive relief against the Attorney General, the INS, and various immigration officials in their personal and official capacities. The INS responded by dropping the advocacy-of-communism  [*474]  charges, but it retained the technical violation charges against the six temporary residents and charged Hamide and Shehadeh, who were permanent residents, under a different section of the McCarran-Walter Act, which authorized the deportation of aliens who were members of an organization advocating "the duty, necessity, or propriety of the unlawful assaulting or killing of any [government] officer or officers" and "the unlawful damage, injury, or destruction of property." See 8 U.S.C. §§ 1251(a)(6)(F)(ii)-(iii) (1982 ed.). 3 INS regional counsel William Odencrantz said at a press conference that the charges had been changed for tactical reasons but the INS was still  [***948]  seeking respondents' deportation because of their affiliation with the PFLP. See American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee v. Reno, 70 F.3d [****7]  1045, 1053 (CA9 1995) (AADC I). Respondents amended their complaint to include an allegation that the INS was selectively enforcing immigration laws against them in violation of their First and Fifth Amendment rights. 4 

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525 U.S. 471 *; 119 S. Ct. 936 **; 142 L. Ed. 2d 940 ***; 1999 U.S. LEXIS 1514 ****; 67 U.S.L.W. 4133; 99 Cal. Daily Op. Service 1388; 99 Daily Journal DAR 1749; 1999 Colo. J. C.A.R. 886; 12 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 101


Subsequent History:  [****1]  As Amended November 9, 1999.


Disposition: 119 F.3d 1367, vacated and remanded.


deportation, aliens, Immigration, injunction, transitional, deferred, deprives, ongoing, selective-enforcement, collateral, quotation, chilling, contradiction, irreparable, terminate

Civil Procedure, Jurisdiction, Subject Matter Jurisdiction, General Overview, Immigration Law, Deportation & Removal, Administrative Proceedings, Jurisdiction, Jurisdiction Over Actions, Judicial Proceedings, Judicial Review, Scope of Review, Jurisdictional Sources, Appeals, Appellate Jurisdiction, State Court Review, Administrative Appeals, Stays of Deportation & Removal, Judicial Review, Consolidation of Issues, Criminal Law & Procedure, Habeas Corpus, Review, Relief From Deportation & Removal, Prosecutorial Misconduct, Defenses, Selective Prosecution, Grounds for Deportation & Removal, National Security Risk, Terrorist Activities