OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
The Supreme Court has ruled against an immigrant who was seeking to avoid deportation as one conservative Justice sided with liberals in dissent.
On Monday, the court voted 5 – 4 to keep in place an appellate court decision against a man who has been in the United States illegally since the 1990s, Fox News reported.
Pankajkumar Patel, who entered the U.S. illegally from India with his wife Jyotsnaben three decades ago, according to court documents, applied for discretionary adjustment of status with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) agency in 2007.
The adjustment, which would have given Patel and his wife green cards, was denied by the agency after it found he previously intentionally misrepresented his citizenship on a Georgia driver’s license application.
Years later, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) endeavored to deport Patel and his wife, prompting him to apply for an adjustment again. He argued before a federal immigration judge that he mistakenly ticked “citizen” off on the Georgia driver’s license application, but the judge ordered him removed anyway.
“Federal courts have a very limited role to play in this process. With an exception for legal and constitutional questions, Congress has barred judicial review of the Attorney General’s decisions denying discretionary relief from removal,” Justice Amy Coney Barrett said in the opinion of the majority.
Justice Neil Gorsuch said in the dissent that the decision would limit the court’s ability to hear some deportation cases.
“As a result, no court may correct even the agency’s most egregious factual mistakes about an individual’s statutory eligibility for relief,” he said.
“It is a bold claim promising dire consequences for countless lawful immigrants,” he said.
The court has been the subject of much scrutiny recently after a draft decision that would end Roe V Wade was leaked to the media.
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas derided the leak of the draft decision.
On Friday he spoke to a conference of black conservatives where he compared the leak to “infidelity,” Politico reported.
“I wonder how long we’re going to have these institutions at the rate we’re undermining them, and then I wonder when they’re gone or destabilized what we will have as a country and I don’t think the prospects are good if we continue to lose them,” the 73-year-old Justice said.
“When you lose that trust, especially in the institution that I’m in, it changes the institution fundamentally. You begin to look over your shoulder. It’s like kind of infidelity – that you can explain it but you can’t undo it,” he said.
As he took questions from the audience one person asked him if the court has changed since he was confirmed in 1991.
“This is not the court of that era. I sat with (famously liberal justice) Ruth Ginsburg for almost 30 years and she was actually an easy colleague to deal with… We may have been a dysfunctional family, but we were a family,” the Justice said.
“Anybody who would, for example, have an attitude to leak documents, that is your general attitude, that is your future on the bench,” he said.
He also took aim at the protests that have been happening at the homes of conservative Justices since the leak was published.
“You would never visit Supreme Court justices’ houses when things didn´t go our way. We didn´t throw temper tantrums. I think it is … incumbent on us to always act appropriately and not to repay tit for tat,” he said.
Last week, Thomas dropped the hammer on the protesters who are furious at the leaked draft opinion that purports to end Roe v Wade protections for abortion.
The Associate Justice, who appeared on the majority in ending Roe V Wade, spoke at a judicial conference on Friday and said that the court cannot be “bullied” into doing what certain people want them to do, Reuters reported.
The Justice warned that as a society, “we are becoming addicted to wanting particular outcomes, not living with the outcomes we don’t like.”
“We can’t be an institution that can be bullied into giving you just the outcomes you want. The events from earlier this week are a symptom of that,” he said.