Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Ledezma-Cosino v. Sessions (9th Cir. - May 30, 2017)

Today's en banc opinion is worth reading in its entirety.  It's about whether it's permissible for Congress to distinguish between "habitual drunkards" and others, and deport the former.  You've got four different opinions on the point, articulating four different views.  They're all great reads.

(I can shorthand the answer for you:  Yes.  So holds a supermajority of the en banc panel.)

Without slighting the importance of the opinions as a whole, or the importance of the questions presented, I just wanted to isolate one portion of one opinion.  Something from Judge Kozinski's concurrence.  Something uniquely personal, and, in that way, perhaps particularly compelling.

Judge Kozinski writes:

"Untold masses were turned away at Ellis Island—or prevented from boarding ships for America—for medical reasons, my grandfather among them. This was a misfortune for those turned away, but excluding aliens for reasons Congress believes sufficient to serve the public welfare is a nigh-unquestioned power of a sovereign nation."

You can get from even this brief quote the tenor of Judge Kozinski's concurrence, in which he articulates his view that Congress (and the President) can do pretty much whatever they want to people who want to come to the United States.

Reading that quote made me wonder:

What would Judge Kozinski's grandfather think of his grandson's concurrence?

Would he agree?  Would he be proud?  Would he think it lacks compassion?

To be clear:  I'm positive that Judge Kozinski's grandfather would be immensely proud (in general) of his grandson and his accomplishments.  I'm only wondering about his (hypothetical) reaction to this particular opinion.

And the larger contextual background of the historical American treatment of Jewish immigrants and refugees only makes the question more salient.

None of which is to imply that the perspective of Judge Kozinski's grandfather is any more (or less) valid than Judge Kozinski's.

But I nonetheless wonder what the guy would think.

(And, were I to reference my own grandfather, when I did so, I'd probably have a fleeting internal thought about what the guy would think about my perspective as I did so.)