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Saturday, March 07, 2015

Ind. Courts - 7th Circuit Judge Posner "rips colleagues, immigration courts, backs Chicago cabbie"

Here is the 33-page March 4, 2015 opinion, Mohamed Bouras v. Eric Holder, Jr., authored by Judge Hamilton, joined by Judge Sykes. Dissent by Judge Posner, beginning on p. 15. [ILB: Read the ruling for yourself, I don't find where Posner inordinately "rips his colleagues," as the Sun-Times headline reports.]

At issue in this review of an order of the board of immigration appeals is the question of whether there was a sham marriage. The March 6, 2015 Chicago Sun-Times carried this story by Kim Janssen, here are some quotes:

U.S. Appeals Court Judge Richard Posner slammed both his colleagues on the Seventh Circuit and immigration authorities for their treatment of Bouras, saying they have “confused a failed marriage with a fraudulent one” and are ratifying ”a prime example of administrative incompetence.”

Bouras and his ex-wife, Jennifer Schreiner, say their marriage failed because he wanted children and she didn’t want any more than she already had. Bouras was unable to find work in Ohio after they married in 2006, so spent half his time apart from his wife, working as a cabbie in Chicago, they say.

Citing that evidence, Appeals Court Judges Diane Sykes and David Hamilton agreed with an immigration court judge that “an undocumented alien’s brief marriage to a U.S. citizen, during which the couple spent little or no time together and kept their property and finances separate, raises obvious warning signs for immigration authorities.”

But Posner wrote that ”there is no evidence that the marriage was fraudulent” and added that what “did in” Bouras was the immigration court’s failure to let Schreiner testify for her ex-husband that the marriage was for real.

Schreiner, who had work commitments that prevented her from traveling from Columbus to Chicago on the day of the hearing, could have testified via telephone, or on another day, Posner wrote.

The immigration judge’s decision to prevent her from testifying “appears just to be his personal rule, his display of arbitrary bureaucratic power,” Posner wrote, before quoting from Shakespeare’s ‘Measure for Measure’: “Oh, it is excellent / To have a giant’s strength; but it is tyrannous / To use it like a giant.”

Posner has a national reputation for both his intellectual brilliance and at times, his staggering rudeness. But even by his standards, the opinion constitutes a blistering attack on his colleagues and the immigration courts.

He said he was “disturbed” that Sykes and Hamilton criticized Bouras for waiting too long before trying to delay the critical hearing in his case, telling them, “Bouras is a taxi driver, not a lawyer.”

Posted by Marcia Oddi on March 7, 2015 03:35 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions