Conservative Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, who was controversially appointed by President Trump last year, sided with his liberal colleagues on the bench Tuesday in a ruling that curbs how a federal law can be used to deport immigrants, The Associated Press reports. In the 5-4 decision, the justices determined that the law concerning the deportation of immigrants for certain crimes is unconstitutionally loose and vague, writes The Wall Street Journal. The decision is considered a blow to Trump, who has taken a hardline on immigration.
The case, Sessions v. Dimaya, concerned a Filipino immigrant with permanent U.S. residency status who was convicted of burglary in California. Congress had ordered the deportation of immigrants that committed felony crimes with "a substantial risk that physical force … may be used," which the defendant argued was unspecific and the Supreme Court agreed was too unclear.
Justice Elena Kagan wrote the majority's ruling, while in his own opinion Gorsuch agreed that the law left people "in the dark" and allowed "prosecutors and courts to make it up." He added: "No one should be surprised that the Constitution looks unkindly on any law so vague that reasonable people cannot understand its terms and judges do not know where to begin in applying it."