Alston & Bird joined with the National Immigrant Justice Center as co-counsel to the Georgia Asylum and Immigration Network (GAIN) in filing an amicus brief in a case heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled in a precedential decision that judicial review is critical to a noncitizen’s ability to seek protection under the United Nations Convention Against Torture (CAT).
GAIN was part of a national coalition of legal service providers in filing the brief, which made an impassioned plea for judicial review as a final safeguard against removal to a country where an individual may be subject to torture/trauma.
The Court, which ruled 7-2 in the case of Nasrallah v. Barr, found in favor of Lebanese native Nidal Khalid Nasrallah, who was at risk of torture by ISIS and Hezbollah.
The decision settled a split in the nation’s appeals courts, overturning a 2019 ruling by the Atlanta-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit that said courts do not have jurisdiction to review the factual underpinnings of immigrants’ torture claims.
The Court’s ruling also brings to rest a long-standing debate over whether appellate courts have jurisdiction to go beyond legal and constitutional challenges to review facts forming the basis of a denial under CAT.
Representing GAIN was Alston & Bird associate Cassandra Johnson.
The case is Nidal Khalid Nasrallah v. William P. Barr, No. 18-1432, in the U.S. Supreme Court.