Thanks to the excellent advocacy of our pro-bono partners at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP, a DV LEAP client has been granted certiorari from the Supreme Court of the United States. This means that SCOTUS has agreed to hear our client's case.
This is the first time in DV LEAP history that we have been granted certiorari in front of SCOTUS! SCOTUS only grants certiorari to about 1% of all the petitions they see each year. DV LEAP is extremely excited for this opportunity to create change!
A special thank you to Gibson Dunn attorneys: Amir Tayrani, Kellam Conover, and Melanie Katsur!
This case came to DV LEAP in 2016 and with the help of Gibson Dunn has progressed from the 6th Circuit to SCOTUS in 2019.
The central issue for Michelle, an American, was whether she was wrong to return to the U.S. with her newborn baby when fleeing her abusive Italian husband in Italy. The legal issue is whether a federal district court correctly ruled that the Hague Abduction Convention required the return of her then-toddler (at 18 months) to a father and country she had virtually never lived in. In particular, can a newborn baby be deemed to have a country of “habitual residence” (when they’ve never lived anywhere yet), which is the required predicate for a return order under the Hague Convention.
This matters hugely to Michelle and mothers like her; she has hardly been permitted to see her daughter since she was sent to Italy; and the Italian courts have not even been willing to hold a hearing to address her parental rights.
There is also a second issue in the case concerning how much deference appeals courts should give to trial courts’ decisions of this sort.
Stay tuned to see what happens!