Daily Archives: September 29, 2011

Supreme Court to Hear Cases on Immigrants’ Residence

Seal of the United States Court of Appeals for...

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On Tuesday, the Supreme Court agreed to decide whether the length of immigrants’ lawful residence in the United States should be considered in determining whether their children may be deported.

The Court also agreed to hear six other cases from among the hundreds of appeals that piled up over the summer. The number of cases accepted by the Justices this year  was unusually small. Last year, they added fourteen cases to the docket.

Federal immigration law allows people who have been lawful permanent residents for at least five years and have lived continuously in the United States for at least seven years to ask the government for leniency if threatened with deportation. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled in a series of cases that immigrants who entered the United States as children may count their parents’ years here to satisfy the residency requirements.

The court accepted two appeals from such rulings, consolidating them into a single case.

One of the appeals, Holder v. Gutierrez, No. 10-1542, concerns Carlos M. Gutierrez, a Mexican citizen who became a legal permanent resident of the United States in 2003, when he was nineteen. Two years later, the government sought to deport him after catching him trying to drive across the border from Mexico with three undocumented minors in his car.

The other appeal, Holder v. Sawyers, No. 10-1543, involved Damien A. Sawyers, a Jamaican citizen whom the government sought to deport after he was convicted of “maintaining a dwelling for keeping a controlled substance.” The conviction came nearly seven years after Mr. Sawyers became a lawful permanent resident of the United States in 1995 at the age of fifteen.

Neither man could himself satisfy the criteria that would have allowed him to seek leniency. The Ninth Circuit ruled that the time their parents had spent in the United States could be imputed to them.

In its briefs urging the Justices to hear the case, the Obama administration said the Ninth Circuit’s interpretation of the law was wrong. Lawyers for the two men, in briefs urging the Justices not to hear the cases, said the government had ignored a policy favoring keeping families intact.

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Filed under Crime and Punishment, National, Sidebar, The Supremes

NHL Won’t Respond to Player Who Used Homophobic Slur on the Ice

Photo by Matthew McPherson, Staples Center, Lo...

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New York Rangers forward Sean Avery joined the campaign to fight for same-sex marriage in New York this spring, knowing full well he might get blowback from opponents in the NHL.

Two days ago, Philadelphia Flyers player Wayne Simmonds called Sean Avery a “f*cking f*ggot” during an exhibition game. Avery complained to NHL officials, but the officials say they won’t fine Simmonds because “there are conflicting accounts of what transpired on the ice,” despite the fact that Simmonds can clearly be seen mouthing the slur on video.

Other professional sports leagues have cracked down on homophobic slurs. When Kobe Bryant used the same slur as Simmonds, the National Basketball Association fined him $100,000. Nearly a third of all Major League Baseball teams have made “It Gets Better” videos to stand up against anti-gay bullying.

The NHL’s inaction is not only a step backward in the fight to end the culture of homophobia in professional sports. It’s also a betrayal of Sean Avery, who represents the very best of how professional athletes can help the fight for gay rights.

If the NHL ignores Simmonds’ slur, that sends a dangerous signal to other hockey players: Don’t bother supporting the LGBT community. Your league won’t have your back if you do.

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Filed under Entertainment, Stupid Is As Stupid Does

Canada Considers Prosecuting Dick Cheney for War Crimes

Canada is looking into the prospect of indicting former United States Vice President Dick Cheney for war crimes for his use of waterboarding and harsh interrogation tactics.

Many believe that Dick Cheneys use of water boarding violates the United Nations Convention Against Torture.  (Image Courtesy of CNN)

Many believe that Dick Cheney’s use of water boarding violates the United Nations Convention Against Torture. Image Courtesy of CNN.

Human Rights Watch said Canada should prepare to investigate Vice Pres. Cheney for violating the United Nations Convention Against Torture, which lays out what is torture and the possibility of criminal sanctions for violating it.

As soon as Vice Pres. Cheney leaves the country, he opens himself up to prosecution. A country has jurisdiction over an individual for torture if a complainant is a citizen of that country. Because Vice Pres. Cheney’s interrogation tactics affected at least two Canadian citizens, Canada would have jurisdiction to prosecute him.

Dick Cheney is unapologetic about his war tactics, maintaining the opinion that waterboarding does not constitute torture.

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Filed under Cheers!, Crime and Punishment, National, Politics, World