Despite his administration’s recurring attempts to push its immigration agenda, President Trump continuously finds himself at odds with the other branches of government when it comes to legislating or assessing new laws to implement it. This is especially clear with the Supreme Court, which has routinely ruled against the White House’s attempts to enforce stricter anti-immigration measures via executive order or other means. Such was the case on Tuesday when the court, including Trump pick Neil Gorsuch, struck down part of a federal statute that required the deportation of immigrants with certain criminal convictions.
According to CNN, the Obama-era cast Sessions v. Dimaya resulted in a 5-4 vote from the court in favor of “invalidating the federal statute” that required the “mandatory deportation of immigrants who have been convicted of some crimes.” The majority opinion “[held] that the law is unconstitutionally vague.” Gorsuch, whom Trump nominated and — despite Democrats’ attempts to filibuster — was confirmed without issue, sided with the more liberal justices of the court for the first time since he joined the bench.
Yet Gorsuch’s decision to side with his progressive colleagues isn’t too surprising, for as CNN notes, his predecessor and mentor, the late Justice Antonin Scalia “also sided with liberals when it came to the vagueness of statutes used to convict criminal defendants.” As a result, Tuesday’s decision on Sessions v. Dimaya may provide some indication for how the court’s current makeup may respond to future cases considering the legality of the Trump administration’s efforts to push its immigration agenda through unchecked.
So if what the Trump White House and its allies keep producing is considered to be “unconstitutionally vague,” Gorsuch just might rule against it.