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WASHINGTON, DC, December 6, 2006 — The Supreme Court handed down a favorable decision in Lopez v. Gonzales, a significant immigration case in which Covington represented the petitioner, Jose Antonio Lopez. The Court's opinion, written by Justice Souter, holds that state drug convictions do not count as "aggravated felonies" for purposes of federal immigration law unless the offense is punishable as a felony under the federal drug laws.
Conviction of an aggravated felony renders an immigrant ineligible for withholding of deportation, asylum, or U.S. citizenship and has other adverse consequences. The Court's decision today reverses the lower court's ruling that Mr. Lopez's conviction on a simple drug possession charge was an "aggravated felony" for immigration purposes.
Partner Robert Long argued the case and led the Covington team, which included Theodore Metzler, Edward Bruce, Nick Cartier, Emily Henn, and Emin Toro. Mr. Long chairs the firm’s appellate and Supreme Court litigation group and has argued 14 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.