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Though courts and scholars emphasize the importance of uniformity in the interpretation and application of federal immigration law, systemic complexity makes its achievement elusive. In the immigration opinions she has drafted to date on the Supreme Court, as well as in her extensive work reviewing asylum adjudications on the Second Circuit, Justice Sotomayor has invoked uniformity as a means of promoting fairness and accountability. But she also has demonstrated how these values can be advanced even in uniformity’s absence, when the system produces conflict and divergent enforcement outcomes. Her opinions highlight how courts can meaningfully, albeit imperfectly, constrain administrative actors through consistent legal interpretation, while still accepting the diversity and discretion built into immigration law itself.
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