Jennings v. Rodriguez (Argument October 3, 2017)
Noncitizens may be detained for lengthy periods of time while they await a decision on deportation. Alejandro Rodriguez, a Mexican citizen and lawful permanent resident, was arrested in 2004 for a drug offense and vehicle theft. His immigration proceedings determined he would be removed. He appealed the removal, and the appeal took a while. In 2007, Rodriguez filed a petition arguing he should not be left in jail for that long. He came to represent a class of similarly-situated noncitizens in this case.
In Jennings v. Rodriguez, the Court will be deciding if noncitizen detainees should be entitled a bond hearing if they are detained for lengthy periods.
Here is our graphic explainer of the legal issues. For more information and additional facts of the case, see this SCOTUSblog report.
This case is on appeal from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The lower court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, by interpreting Sections 1225(b) and 1226(c) to include bail hearings after 6 months of detention. The 9th Circuit read bail rights into the provisions to avoid the constitutional (liberty) issue it said the provisions otherwise would have. The 9th Circuit additionally put the burden of proving a detainee is a flight risk on the government (during the bail hearings) and required automatic bail hearings after each additional 6 months of detention.
See our page on federal court hierarchy for more information about the route a federal case usually takes to the Supreme Court.