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SCOTUS on Consular Nonreviewability: DOS v. MUÑOZ (6-3)

June 21, 2024 (1 min read)

DOS v. MUÑOZ (6-3)

50 F. 4th 906, reversed and remanded. BARRETT, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which ROBERTS, C. J., and THOMAS, ALITO, and KAVANAUGH, JJ., joined. GORSUCH, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment. SOTOMAYOR, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which KAGAN and JACKSON, JJ., joined.

Majority: "Like the Din plurality, we hold that a citizen does not have a fundamental liberty interest in her noncitizen spouse being admitted to the country. ... Whatever else it may stand for, Mandel does not hold that a citizen’s independent constitutional right (say, a free speech claim) gives that citizen a procedural due process right to a “facially legitimate and bona fide reason” for why someone else’s visa was denied. And Muñoz is not constitutionally entitled to one here. * * * The judgment of the Ninth Circuit is reversed, and the case is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion."

Dissent: "[T]he majority today chooses a broad holding on marriage over a narrow one on procedure. It holds that Muñoz’s right to marry, live with, and raise children alongside her husband entitles her to nothing when the Government excludes him from the country. ... The Government cannot banish a U. S. citizen’s spouse and give only a bare statutory citation as an excuse. By denying Muñoz the right to a factual basis for her husband’s exclusion, the majority departs from longstanding precedent and gravely undervalues the right to marriage in the immigration context. ... The majority’s failure to respect the right to marriage in this country consigns U. S. citizens to rely on the fickle grace of other countries’ immigration laws to vindicate one of the “‘basic civil rights of man’” and live alongside their spouses. ... A traveler to the United States two centuries ago reported that “‘[t]here is certainly no country in the world where the tie of marriage is so much respected as in America.’” Obergefell, 576 U. S., at 669 (quoting 1 A. de Tocqueville, Democracy in America 309 (H. Reeve transl., rev. ed. 1900)). Today, the majority fails to live up to that centuries-old promise."