US Supreme Court leans towards Trump on deportation
WASHINGTON – Conservative United States Supreme Court justices appeared sympathetic on Monday toward a bid by President Donald Trump’s administration to buttress its power to quickly deport illegal immigrants without court interference in a politically charged election-year case concerning one of Trump’s signature issues.
The justices heard arguments in the administration’s appeal of a lower court ruling that a Sri Lankan asylum seeker – a farmer named Vijayakumar Thuraissigiam –had a right under the US Constitution to have his case reviewed by a federal court.
Conservative justices signalled support for the administration. Liberal justices appeared to back Thuraissigiam. The court has a 5-4 conservative majority including two justices appointed by Trump.
The San Francisco-based 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals last year concluded that in Thuraissigiam’s case a federal law that largely stripped the power of courts to review quick deportations – known as expedited removal – violated a provision of the Constitution called the suspension clause.
Trump’s administration contended the lower court’s ruling would defeat the purpose of quick deportation and “impose a severe burden on the immigration system”. Trump’s hardline policies on immigration and deportation have been a centerpiece of his presidency and his bid for re-election on November 3.
The American Civil Liberties Union, representing Thuraissigiam, said the administration’s arguments, if accepted by the court, could be used to deport millions of other illegal immigrants without meaningful judicial review.
Thuraissigiam has said that as a member of Sri Lanka’s Tamil minority he was tortured over his political ties and subjected to beatings and simulated drowning.