Kerry v Din

Din sought judicial review of the denial of her husband’s application for a visa. The district court denied her petition, but, the 9th Circuit reversed. The Court, 5(3 justice plurality joined by two concurring in judgment)-4 reversed. The plurality argued that there is no liberty interest in living with your noncitizen spouse, that the expansion of the meaning of “liberty” cannot encompass such a  right given the extensive regulation of family reunification by Congress and rejected the dissents argument that unspecified important interest should be given full procedural protection. Kennedy, joined by Alito, concurred arguing that under Court precedent when the government denies a visa and cites tot eh statutory provision which allows it to deny the visa, the claimant has received all the process due to them and that is what occurred here. Breyer, joined by Ginsberg, Sotomayor and Kagan, dissented arguing that the a citizen’s right to live with one’s spouse in the United States is a liberty interest requiring due process be granted and that at a minimum Din is entitled to a statement of reasons as to why the visa application was denied. He argued citation t the statute was insufficient as it contained dozens of possibilities and national security cannot suspend due process, but, could entail in camera review or other methods to provide required process.

Baker Botts L.L.P. v Asarco LLC

Botts was awarded fees for defending its fee claim under 11 USC 3303(a)(1). The bankruptcy court granted the award, but, the 5th Circuit reversed. The Court, 6(with one member concurring in part and in judgment)-3, affirmed. The majority held that the American rule of litigants paying their own fees applies unless displaced by statute or contract, 330(a)(1) allows fees for services rendered for the estate and defending a fee claim is for the benefit of the attorney, fighting the fee ward is not part of the underlying services nor does it wrongly reduce the fee for actual services rendered and policy reasons of encouraging bankruptcy attorneys cannot overcome the plain language of the statute. Sotomayor concurred joining all but the policy discussion on enticing attorney participation in bankruptcy. Breyer, joined by Ginsberg and Kagan, dissented arguing the fee defense is part of the services for the underlying case and the majority’s interpretation undercuts congressional intent to induce quality attorneys to practice in bankruptcy. He also noted that the attorneys will now face multiple challenges from the many creditors and other interested parties in a given bankruptcy case.

Reyes Mata v Lynch

Reyes Mata sought to reopen his removal proceedings. The immigration baud of appeals denied his motion. The 5th Circuit held it had no jurisdiction over his appeal under its blanket characterization of motions to reopen as seeking discretionary relief. The Court, 8-1, reversed. The majority held that under the relevant statute and Court precedent, courts of appeal have jurisdiction to review denials of motions to reopen and this jurisdiction is not defeated if the denial is for untimeliness. It held that is the 5th circuit believes equitable tolling is not available on motions to reopen, which is an open question, the proper course is to so rule not hide behind an improper jurisdictional ruling. Thomas dissented arguing that the 5th circuit’s blanket rule is wrong, but, the case should be remanded for that court to properly evaluate Reyes Mata’s claim.