“Surprised by Neil Gorsuch’s ruling? You weren’t paying attention.”

In the case of a federal law providing for the mandatory deportation of lawful permanent residents convicted of a hazily defined “crime of violence,” Justice Neil Gorsuch steps comfortably into Nino Scalia’s shoes as the Court’s champion of void-for-vagueness invalidation of criminal laws whose contours were left overly unclear. “It doesn’t make him a squish. It makes him an originalist,” [Ilya Shapiro, Washington Examiner; opinion in Sessions v. Dimaya] More: Jay Schweikert, Cato.


  • I don’t know that criminal aliens have any right to stay here that needs to be respected.

    • Easy sloganeering aside, none of the liberal Justices so far as I can tell are proposing as a substantive matter a notional right for them to stay here, and none of the conservative Justices are denying that persons charged with being in that category do enjoy some procedural rights protected by the Constitution that the executive is bound to respect and the courts to enforce.

      • There’s a little bit of rug-pulling going on here also–these statutes have been on the books and have been enforced for some time now. That fact, coupled with the fact that aliens should know that committing multiple burglaries is a ticket out of the country, seems to me to cut way against Gorsuch’s formalism.

        Burglary is a serious offense. One of the reasons is the serious potential for violence when it is committed. The Constitution is not offended (particularly in an era where those very same liberals voted to impose a tax on people that Congress hadn’t adopted (the Obamacare case).by booting this guy out under this statute.

      • Re: substantive rights—Zavydas v. Davis comes pretty close in the circumstances to which it applies. If you look at the case of Kesler Dufrene, you will see why the public has a lot of reason to be skeptical that the courts don’t think that alienage is a bit of a protected class. Cf. Plyler v. Doe.

        Not to put too fine a point on it, but Breyer and Ginsburg (the remaining Zavydas v. Davis majority judges) have blood on their hands. Zavydas gave those who don’t have the right to walk our streets the right to walk our streets. Another way to state the question–whom should bear the risk of a country not taking a criminal alien back, the criminal alien or the public at large? To ask the question is to answer it.

        When I see things like Gorsuch’s vote, I appreciate that he is following his principles–the problem is that the other side, which has created monstrosities like Plyler and Zavydas aren’t playing by the rules, and the public suffers. Liberals tend to play games of power when on the bench–Conservatives tend to come to what they truly believe the law requires. And the democracy tends to lose.

  • When you reach a conclusion that the constitution requires, how does anyone lose? The constitution reigns supreme, and if there is a problem we know how to amend it, otherwise the law of the land should be enforced with joy and celebration.

    • If you believe that the Constitution is “what we have said about it” (i.e. through court decisions), then your statement is pretty much an axiom (by the way, the three victims of Kesler Dufrene did lose, no matter what)

      There is way too much power-judging on the left, and the right is often hamstrung y idealism in the judiciary.