Supreme Court says bond hearings not required for some detained noncitizens

The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that federal law does not require the government to grant specialized bond hearings to noncitizens who have been detained for six months.

In the decision, with Justice Stephen Breyer as the lone dissent, the court said that bond hearings are not required to prove that the detainee “poses a flight risk or a danger to the community.”

This is a walk back from the lower courts’ rulings that the man in this specific case, Antonio Arteaga-Martinez, was “entitled” to a bond hearing after six months of detention. Arteaga-Martinez received the bond hearing and was then released “pending resolution of his application for withholding of removal.”

The lower courts relied on a 2001 Supreme Court ruling, Zadvydas v. Davis, that said the Constitution does not allow the government to hold noncitizens for over six months without a hearing.

In its recent ruling, the Supreme Court focused solely on the federal statute and not on whether hearings are constitutionally required. Ultimately, the court said there is nothing in the U.S. Code that says that the government must offer bond hearings to detained noncitizens.

The question of whether the Constitution requires these hearings was not posed in this case, meaning that it could be brought up in a future case.

Breyer had mixed feelings on the ruling, saying that the 2001 ruling “controls the outcome here” because “[t]he statutory language is identical.”

He said that while the court has held that Zadvydas applies, he would make it so that the parties involved in the case argue on how to implement the case, and that “if necessary” to have the court consider the “underlying constitutional question.”




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