Attorney Nora E. Milner Fights Appeal in Federal Court

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Nora E. Milner, of Milner & Markee, LLP, after winning a precedent-setting decision in a case regarding the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, is scheduled to attend an en-banc hearing in a Federal court of appeals.

Immigration attorney Nora E. Milner, a senior partner at Milner & Markee, LLP, after winning a landmark case concerning the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, while contesting the “habitual drunkard” classification in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), is set to appear in Court again for an en-banc session in which the entire court will sit to rehear the case. Ms. Milner will appear in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco on January 18, 2017, to ask the Court to uphold the original decision.

In the case (Case No. 12-73289 filed in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals), the term of “habitual drunkard” was deemed unconstitutional. The case stemmed from decisions by an immigration judge and the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) (Case No. A091-723-478) previously finding that Ms. Milner’s client “lacked good moral character” by virtue of his classification as a “habitual drunkard” under the INA. As such, the immigration judge and BIA initially denied her client’s request to cancel his removal from the United States or to leave voluntarily because he was labeled a “habitual drunkard.”

According to court documents, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the “habitual drunkard” statutory bar to establishing good moral character violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, because there is no rational basis to classify people afflicted with chronic alcoholism as innately lacking good moral character. The Equal Protection Clause requires that no state shall “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws,” and applies to all persons in the United States, regardless of their citizenship or immigration status.

In light of the en-banc hearing, a number of amicus curiae (friend of the court) briefs have been submitted on behalf of Ms. Milner, including those from nonprofits and the legal and science communities. This is a procedure whereby individuals that are not true parties to the court but want to provide an opinion to support a particular side are able to come forward. Furthermore, Ms. Milner has co-counseled with the Washington, D.C. law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP. An attorney from the firm will be presenting the oral argument to the Court.

About Nora E. Milner, Milner & Markee, LLP
Nora E. Milner is a Certified Specialist in U.S. Immigration and Nationality Law by the State Bar of California, and an 8-year recipient of the Super Lawyer award, an honor reserved for only the best immigration attorneys. In practice for nearly 30 years, she maintains two offices, one in San Diego and one in Palm Desert, CA. For more information, please call (858) 451-6269, or visit

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