Member Moves

NCAJ Member Helen Parsonage Victorious At U.S. Supreme Court

June 02, 2020

The United States Supreme Court issued a 7-2 opinion in favor of plaintiff Nidal Khalid Nasrallah in the case Nasrallah v. Barr, Attorney General. Helen Parsonage, pictured at left, represented Nasrallah and provided this summary of the case. 

In removal proceedings, Nasrallah, a Lebanese citizen, sought protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT), on the grounds that he was a member of the Druze religion, had been tortured in the past due to his religion, and would be tortured again were he deported to Lebanon. 

An immigration judge agreed and ordered Nasrallah removed whilst at the same time ordering that removal be deferred under CAT. On the government’s appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals, the Board concluded that Nasrallah would not likely be tortured if deported. It accordingly reversed the deferral under CAT, leaving the removal order in place. 

Nasrallah appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, which held they had no jurisdiction to review the denial of the CAT claim, because 8 USC 1252 prohibits the review of removal orders (with limited exceptions) of those with certain types of criminal records, as here. 

On appeal to the Supreme Court, Nasrallah argued that the prohibition on challenging removal orders was inapplicable in his case, as he was not challenging his removal order but only the denial of protection under CAT. The Supreme Court agreed.