INS v. St. Cyr, 533 U.S. 289, 10 (2001)

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Opinion of the Court

the District Court and the Court of Appeals decided that question correctly in this case.


The first question we must consider is whether the District Court retains jurisdiction under the general habeas corpus statute, 28 U. S. C. 2241, to entertain St. Cyr's challenge. His application for a writ raises a pure question of law. He does not dispute any of the facts that establish his deportability or the conclusion that he is deportable. Nor does he contend that he would have any right to have an unfavorable exercise of the Attorney General's discretion reviewed in a judicial forum. Rather, he contests the Attorney General's conclusion that, as a matter of statutory interpretation, he is not eligible for discretionary relief.

The District Court held, and the Court of Appeals agreed, that it had jurisdiction to answer that question in a habeas corpus proceeding.8 The INS argues, however, that four sections of the 1996 statutes—specifically, 401(e) of AEDPA and three sections of IIRIRA (8 U. S. C. 1252(a)(1), 1252(a)(2)(C), and 1252(b)(9) (1994 ed., Supp. V))—stripped the courts of jurisdiction to decide the question of law presented by respondent's habeas corpus application.

For the INS to prevail it must overcome both the strong presumption in favor of judicial review of administrative action 9 and the longstanding rule requiring a clear statement of congressional intent to repeal habeas jurisdiction. See Ex parte Yerger, 8 Wall. 85, 102 (1869) ("We are not at liberty to except from [habeas corpus jurisdiction] any cases not plainly excepted by law"); Felker v. Turpin, 518 U. S. 651, 660-661 (1996) (noting that "[n]o provision of Title I

8 See n. 1, supra; n. 33, infra.

9 See, e. g., Bowen v. Michigan Academy of Family Physicians, 476 U. S. 667, 670 (1986); see also McNary v. Haitian Refugee Center, Inc., 498 U. S. 479, 498 (1991); Webster v. Doe, 486 U. S. 592, 603 (1988); Johnson v. Robison, 415 U. S. 361, 373-374 (1974).

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