OPINION | This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.

The Supreme Court just voted in favor of an illegal alien in a deportation case. And it all came down to a small technicality in a federal law, according to The Western Journal.

As federal law currently declares, an illegal alien “may be eligible for discretionary relief if, among other things, they can establish their continuous presence in the country for at least 10 years.”

But that being said, the “stop-time rule” gives a “period of continuous presence ‘shall be deemed to end . . . when the alien is served a notice to appear’ in a removal proceeding.”

The Supreme Court came to the conclusion that “the charges against the alien and the time and place at which the removal proceedings will be held … A notice that omits any of this statutorily required information does not trigger the stop-time rule.”

Agusto Niz-Chavezillegally entered the U.S. in 2005 and currently lives in Michigan.

Niz-Chavez received a notice in May 2013 that listed charges being held against him.

The case claims that “because the two documents collectively specified all statutorily required information for ‘a notice to appear,’ [his] continuous presence in the country stopped when he was served with the second document.”

Justice Neil Gorsuch conveyed the Court’s conclusion.

“At one level, today’s dispute may seem semantic, focused on a single word, a small one at that. But words are how the law constrains power,” he wrote.

“In this case, the law’s terms ensure that, when the federal government seeks a procedural advantage against an individual, it will at least supply him with a single and reasonably comprehensive statement of the nature of the proceedings against him.”

“At first blush, a notice to appear might seem to be just that — a single document containing all the information an individual needs to know about his removal hearing.”

“But, the government says, supplying so much information in a single form is too taxing.

“It needs more flexibility, allowing its officials to provide information in separate mailings (as many as they wish) over time (as long as they find convenient).”

“The question for us is whether the law Congress adopted tolerates the government’s preferred practice.”

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Justice Brett Kavanaugh joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito stated, “I find the Court’s conclusion rather perplexing as a matter of statutory interpretation and common sense.”

“The Court today casts aside the Immigration Judge’s order and allows Niz-Chavez to go back to immigration court to seek cancellation of removal. Why?”

“The Court says that Niz-Chavez did not receive proper notice of his removal proceedings because he received notice in two documents rather than one.”

“The Court so holds even though Niz-Chavez (i) received all the statutorily required information about his removal proceedings, including the time and place of the removal hearing; (ii) was not prejudiced in any way by receiving notice in two documents rather than one; and (iii) in fact appeared with counsel at his scheduled removal hearing.”

Stephen Yale-Loehr stated that this decision “does give [long-term illegal aliens] a second chance to try to prove that they qualify for cancellation of removal and other forms of relief.”

From The Western Journal:

The Supreme Court, however, didn’t see it that way and ruled in Niz-Chavez’s favor by a vote of 6 to 3. The conservative justices were split on the decision.

The law states that the period of continuous presence ends when the alien is served a notice that includes both the charges and the time and place of the hearing. Niz-Chavez had received this information in two notices. Therefore, the stop-time rule was not triggered and Niz-Chavez is deemed to have had a continuous presence in the U.S. for more than ten years.

Justice Neil Gorsuch delivered the court’s opinion. He was joined by Justices Clarence Thomas, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Amy Coney Barrett.

This ruling will no doubt serve as a precedent in countless other deportation cases in which the letter of the law is not followed.

If only the Supreme Court had been so interested in the letter of the law when it allowed state judges and other officials to bypass state legislatures to change state election laws last year.