SCOTUS Opinion: Court Rejects Effectiveness Of Multipart Notices To Appear

Under the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, Congress required the government to serve a notice to appear on any non-citizen it wishes to remove from the country. Under the Act, such a notice must be in writing and contain certain information, including any charges against the non-citizen, and the time and place of the removal proceedings. The case of Niz-Chavez v. Garland concerned the government’s practice of serving a non-citizen with two separate documents, one describing the charges, and another later on providing the time and place of the hearing. There was a conflict among the Courts of Appeal as to whether such piecemeal efforts satisfied the Act’s requirement for such notices such to trigger the “stop-time rule” that can preclude a non-citizen from seeking discretionary relief.

Resolving that conflict, the Court, in a 6-3 opinion by Justice Gorsuch, held that a notice to appear sufficient to trigger the Act’s stop-time rule must include all the required information in a single document, rejecting the government’s practice. The majority reasoned that “a notice of appeal” required a single notice, and rejected the argument that mere administrative inconvenience justified departing from the clear language of the statute. Justice Kavanaugh, joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito, dissented, arguing that the Act did not require a single document, and that the majority’s decision made little sense in practice.

A link to the opinion is here: