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U.S. v. Hansen (6-2)

June 23, 2023 (1 min read)

U.S. v. Hansen (6-2) - 25 F. 4th 1103, reversed and remanded. BARRETT, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which ROBERTS, C. J., and THOMAS, ALITO, KAGAN, GORSUCH, and KAVANAUGH, JJ., joined. THOMAS, J., filed a concurring opinion. JACKSON, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which SOTOMAYOR, J., joined.

"A federal law prohibits “encourag[ing] or induc[ing]” illegal immigration. 8 U. S. C. §1324(a)(1)(A)(iv). After concluding that this statute criminalizes immigration advocacy and other protected speech, the Ninth Circuit held it unconstitutionally overbroad under the First Amendment. That was error. Properly interpreted, this provision forbids only the intentional solicitation or facilitation of certain unlawful acts. It does not “prohibi[t] a substantial amount of protected speech”—let alone enough to justify throwing out the law’s “plainly legitimate sweep.” United States v. Williams, 553 U. S. 285, 292 (2008). We reverse." - Justice Barrett

"Because the majority’s interpretation of §1324(a)(1)(A)(iv) diverges from the text and history of the provision, and simultaneously subverts the speech-protective goals of the constitutional doctrine plainly implicated here, I respectfully dissent. ... The substantial concerns that amici from such diverse walks of life raise illustrate that the “deterrent effect feared by” Hansen and his amici “is real and pervasive.” Id., at ___ (slip op., at 18). Moreover, at the end of the day, those fears reflect a determination to view enacted statutes as serious business, and, essentially, to take Congress at its word. This Court should have done the same. As written, the encouragement provision is overbroad. Therefore, it should have been deemed facially unconstitutional and invalid under the First Amendment, as the Ninth Circuit held." - Justice Jackson