Photographer: David McNew/AFP/Getty Images

U.S. Supreme Court Orders New Argument in Immigrant-Detention Case

The U.S. Supreme Court said it will hear a second argument on the rights of people being detained during deportation proceedings, suggesting a 4-4 deadlock that will be broken by the newest justice, Neil Gorsuch.

At issue is whether those people are entitled to periodic bond hearings. A federal appeals court gave many of them a hearing, and the possibility of temporary release, after six months in custody.

The justices heard the case in November, before Gorsuch joined the court. The new argument will take place during the nine-month term that starts in October.

The case affects some legal permanent residents convicted of crimes, as well as foreigners who are in the country illegally or seeking asylum.

The dispute reached the Supreme Court while Barack Obama was president. His administration challenged the appeals court ruling, saying it ran afoul of federal immigration law and would undercut the government’s border-control efforts. The Obama administration said the ruling threatened to free people who were apprehended while illegally crossing the border, as well as unauthorized immigrants who have been convicted of crimes.

The San Francisco-based appeals court also required the government to meet a tough legal test to justify the continued detention of an alien. The three-judge panel said the government must show "clear and convincing evidence" that a person is either a flight risk or a danger to the community.

The case before the high court is a class-action lawsuit pressed by immigrants being detained by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in California.

Re-argument is standard practice when a new justice joins the court in the middle of the term and the other eight are evenly split in an argued case.

The case is Jennings v. Rodriguez, 15-1204.

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