INS v. St. Cyr, 533 U.S. 289, 12 (2001)

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300

INS v. ST. CYR

Opinion of the Court

would raise serious constitutional problems, and where an alternative interpretation of the statute is "fairly possible," see Crowell v. Benson, 285 U. S. 22, 62 (1932), we are obligated to construe the statute to avoid such problems. See Ashwander v. TVA, 297 U. S. 288, 341, 345-348 (1936) (Brandeis, J., concurring); United States ex rel. Attorney General v. Delaware & Hudson Co., 213 U. S. 366, 408 (1909).12

A construction of the amendments at issue that would entirely preclude review of a pure question of law by any court would give rise to substantial constitutional questions. Article I, 9, cl. 2, of the Constitution provides: "The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it." Because of that Clause, some "judicial intervention in deportation cases" is unquestionably "required by the Constitution." Heikkila v. Barber, 345 U. S. 229, 235 (1953).

Unlike the provisions of AEDPA that we construed in Felker v. Turpin, 518 U. S. 651 (1996), this case involves an alien subject to a federal removal order rather than a person confined pursuant to a state-court conviction. Accordingly, regardless of whether the protection of the Suspension

12 "As was stated in Hooper v. California, 155 U. S. 648, 657 (1895), '[t]he elementary rule is that every reasonable construction must be resorted to, in order to save a statute from unconstitutionality.' This approach . . . also recognizes that Congress, like this Court, is bound by and swears an oath to uphold the Constitution. The courts will therefore not lightly assume that Congress intended to infringe constitutionally protected liberties or usurp power constitutionally forbidden it." Edward J. DeBartolo Corp. v. Florida Gulf Coast Building & Constr. Trades Council, 485 U. S. 568, 575 (1988) (citing Grenada County Supervisors v. Brogden, 112 U. S. 261, 269 (1884)); see also NLRB v. Catholic Bishop of Chicago, 440 U. S. 490, 499-501, 504 (1979); Murray v. Schooner Charming Betsy, 2 Cranch 64, 118 (1804); Machinists v. Street, 367 U. S. 740, 749-750 (1961); Crowell v. Benson, 285 U. S. 22, 62 (1932); Lucas v. Alexander, 279 U. S. 573, 577 (1929); Panama R. Co. v. Johnson, 264 U. S. 375, 390 (1924); Delaware & Hudson Co., 213 U. S., at 407-408; Parsons v. Bedford, 3 Pet. 433, 448-449 (1830) (Story, J.).

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