Supreme Court unlikely to change lower court ruling on cross border shooting by Border Patrol agent
Conservative U.S. Supreme Court justices on Tuesday expressed skepticism about reviving a lawsuit filed by the family of a Mexican teenager against a U.S. Border Patrol agent who fatally shot the 15-year-old from across the border in Texas in 2010.If the court refuses to grant constitutional rights to a non-citizen outside the country that would be bad news for the Ninth Circuit ruling against President Trump's Executive Order.
In a closely watched case that could affect U.S. immigration actions under President Donald Trump's administration, the court's liberal justices expressed sympathy toward allowing the case to move forward, indicating the justices could be headed toward a 4-4 split. Such a ruling would leave in place a lower court's decision to throw out the civil rights claims against the agent, Jesus Mesa, filed by the family of Sergio Hernandez.
Justice Anthony Kennedy, a conservative who sometimes sides with the liberal justices in close cases and whose vote could be pivotal in this one, voiced doubt about the family's arguments during the court's hour-long argument.
Kennedy indicated the question of how to compensate victims of cross-border shootings is one that the U.S. and Mexican governments should resolve, noting that the border is "one of the most sensitive areas in foreign affairs."
The Supreme Court potentially could delay action on the case to see if Trump's nominee to fill a vacancy on the court, conservative appeals court judge Neil Gorsuch, is confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Gorsuch could then potentially cast the deciding vote. A ruling is due by the end of June.
The justices heard the case at a time that the security of the lengthy U.S.-Mexico border is a hot topic, with President Donald Trump moving forward with plans for a border wall he said is needed to combat illegal immigration.