Appellate Jurisdiction,  Appellate Procedure,  Judges

Harsh Immigration Dissent

Normally, as a lot of you have figured out by now, I’m a jurisdiction “junkie.” Jurisdiction fuels the disagreement in Ramadan v. Keisler, case no. 03-74351 (9th Cir. Sept. 28, 2007), and the jurisdictional question is interesting (it concerns the effects of the REAL ID act), but I haven’t had time to evaluate it yet.  I hope to get to it.

But what caught my eye immediately was the dissent from this denial of a rehearing en banc. Eight judges join Judge O’Scannlain’s dissent, which starts:

In a feat of interpretive creativity, the Court in this case has transformed a discretionary determination of an Immigration Judge (“IJ”) into a question of law, thereby claiming jurisdiction over a swath of immigration cases hitherto beyond our purview.

And later:

The panel . . . proceeded to engage in interpretive gymnastics based upon a manufactured constitutional conflict.


[the panel decision] creates a split between our circuit and all seven other circuits to consider the issue . . . But even more troubling than this split, the panel’s decision defies the statutory text, unnecessarily creates a constitutional conundrum, and places within our jurisdiction an array of immigration appeals that Congress does not permit us to review.

Professor Martin at California Appellate Report equitably distributes political motives in the case.