Supreme Court of the United States

SCOTUS Blocks Citizenship Question on Census for Now

By Peek & Toland on September 7, 2019

The U.S. Supreme Court recently delivered a setback to the Trump administration’s bid to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census. The high Court questioned the reasoning behind the administration’s desire to add the question and remanded the case to a lower court for reconsideration.

In the Court’s decision, Chief Justice John Roberts described the Commerce Secretary’s explanation for adding the citizenship question as “contrived.” The Court referred to the agency’s reasoning as a distraction rather than a reasonable explanation for adding the question. The other conservative members of the Court slammed the decision. They characterized the decision as an unprecedented departure from the deference traditionally given to discretionary agency decisions and would drastically change administrative law.

SCOTUS Blocks Citizenship Question on Census for Now

According to the Census Bureau, the census forms had a printing deadline of July 1, 2019, so if the Trump administration ultimately prevails, the issue still may be moot. However, another government witness stated that the printing deadline could run as late as October 31, 2019. After the Court issued the decision, Trump tweeted his intention to consider delaying the Census altogether. Whether Trump can do so is another legal question, as the U.S. Constitution requires the federal government to conduct a census every ten years.

The impact of a census can last a decade, as the federal government uses its results to allocate billions in federal funding for various purpose. Census results also impact representation from states in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Electoral College.

Critics who opposed the census point to research showing that communities with large immigrant populations would be less likely to participate in the census. This lack of participation could lead to gross underrepresentation for some communities. The census containing a citizenship question could lead to as many as 6.5 million fewer responses. As a result, several states could risk losing a seat in the House. Whatever your situation may be, you will need skilled legal assistance to work toward a resolution of your immigration matter. The Texas immigration attorneys of Peek & Toland know how to help you navigate through the maze of immigration forms, regulations, and policies, and get the relief that you need. Take the first step today and secure the future of your family in the U.S. Contact our office today at and set up an evaluation with one of our highly skilled Texas immigration lawyers.

Posted in Citizenship

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SCOTUS Strikes Down Portion of Federal Gun Law as Unconstitutionally Vague

By Peek & Toland on August 30, 2019

The U.S. Supreme Court recently issued its opinion in U.S. v. Davis, in which the Court struck down a portion of a federal gun law as unconstitutionally vague. 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(3)(b) makes it illegal to use a firearm during a crime of violence. This section defined a crime of violence as “any other offense that is a felony and that, by its nature, involves a substantial risk that physical force against the person or property of another may be used in the course of committing the offense.”

The penalties for violating § 924(c)(3)(b) are harsh. A first offense requires a five-year mandatory minimum sentence, and subsequent offenses require a 25-year mandatory minimum sentence. These sentences also can run consecutive to any sentences that they receive for the underlying crime.

SCOTUS Strikes Down Portion of Federal Gun Law as Unconstitutionally Vague

The Davis decision is quite narrow, however, as it focuses only on one small section of the pertinent code section. Nonetheless, the high Court held that the language in this code section provides no reliable way to determine whether a crime qualifies as a “crime of violence.” The Court thus concluded that the law as written is unconstitutionally vague.

The federal government argued for an alternate reading of the provision. However, the Court declined to adopt that interpretation, concluding that doing so would be making new law rather than applying the law that Congress enacted.

Justice Gorsuch joined the liberal members of the Court in striking down the provision, just as he did last year in another decision in which the Court found a statute unconstitutionally vague. The decision drew an intense and lengthy dissent from Justice Kavanaugh.

The decision resulted in remanding the case back to the Fifth Circuit to consider the requests of the defendants in this case for a full resentencing hearing.

An experienced Texas criminal defense attorney can help you build a strong defense against any criminal charges. We are here to evaluate the facts surrounding your case and explore your options. We then can help you make the decisions that are mostly like to be beneficial to you, based on your situation. Contact Peek & Toland at (512) 474-4445 today and see how we can help.

Posted in Criminal Defense

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