The Arizona State Law Journal will soon publish an article by Lenni B. Benson. Professor Benson is a Professor of Law at New York Law School and a graduate of the Arizona State University College of Law. This article examines primarily the various immigration opinions of Judge Michael Daly Hawkins of the Ninth Circuit. The article also discusses Judge Hawkins’ contributions outside of his opinions, and evaluates needed reforms in the immigration process.
Professor Benson begins with a discussion of the limitations placed on the immigration system by the bureaucratic process. The appeal process and internal working of the courts are discussed, with a strong focus on Judge Hawkins and the Ninth Circuit. Weaknesses of the process are pointed out and room for improvement is shown in various aspects of the system.
Continuing, Professor Benson discusses the extremely deferential review that immigration cases undergo, and a general reluctance of the Board of Immigration Appeals to address errors and issues head-on. Judge Hawkins is compared to a referee at a sporting event, ensuring that all participants receive fair hearings and receive due process rights. Various opinions by Judge Hawkins are discussed in the context of the special processes of immigration law that are at play.
Discussed as well are the various interpretations of law which have resulted in the preservation of due rights to those in immigration cases. These decisions have preserved review and access to federal courts in proceedings where they might have otherwise diminished. Also discussed is the restraint shown by Judge Hawkins, showing that while he is willing to carefully consider the limits of statutes, he defers to Congress at appropriate times.
Professor Benson closes with a summary bringing the entire discussion into focus, portraying Judge Hawkins as standing up for fairness in an area often lacking appropriate review processes. Judge Hawkins is further commended for all of his efforts in this regard.