Carachuri-Rosendo v. Holder - 09-60 (2010)
560 U. S. ____ (2010)
CARACHURI-ROSENDO V. HOLDER
560 U. S. ____ (2010)
SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
JOSE ANGEL CARACHURI-ROSENDO, PETITIONER v. ERIC H. HOLDER, Jr., ATTORNEY GENERAL
on writ of certiorari to the united states court of appeals for the fifth circuit
[June 14, 2010]
Justice Thomas, concurring in the judgment.
A plain reading of 18 U. S. C. §924(c)(2) identifies two requirements that must be satisfied for Carachuri-Rosendo’s state conviction to qualify as a “ ‘drug trafficking crime’ ” that renders him ineligible for cancellation of removal:*
The Fifth Circuit understandably felt constrained by this Court’s decision in Lopez to rule otherwise. In Lopez, this Court held that “a state offense constitutes a ‘felony punishable under the [CSA]’ only if it proscribes conduct punishable as a felony under that federal law.” Id., at 60 (emphasis added). Though Lopez addressed a felony conviction under state law that did not correlate to a felony under the CSA, the Court’s rule preordained the result in this case:
“[T]he Court admits that its reading will subject an alien defendant convicted of a state misdemeanor to deportation if his conduct was punishable as a felony under the CSA. Accordingly, even if never convicted of an actual felony, an alien defendant becomes eligible for deportation based on a hypothetical federal prosecution.” Id., at 67 (Thomas, J., dissenting).
Today, the Court engages in jurisprudential gymnastics to avoid Lopez. I will not contort the law to fit the case. Lopez was wrongly decided. But because a proper reading of the statutory text, see id., at 60–63, supports the result the Court reaches today, I concur in the judgment.
* See 8 U. S. C. §1229b(a) (permitting cancellation of removal); §1229b(a)(3) (barring aliens convicted of an “aggravated felony” from cancellation of removal); §1101(a)(43)(B) (defining “aggravated felony” as “illicit trafficking in a controlled substance . . . including a drug trafficking crime (as defined in [18 U. S. C. §924(c)])”); 18 U. S. C §924(c)(2) (defining “drug trafficking crime” to mean “any felony punishable under the Controlled Substances Act”).