Terri L. Carver

Publication Date


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Survey Article


In 1998 the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals decided a handful of cases dealing with administrative law issues. One of the cases concerned the suspension of an Immigration and Naturalization Service ("INS") deportation order. The Eleventh Circuit upheld the INS Board of Immigration Appeals in denying plaintiffs the opportunity to apply for suspension of deportation. The court found that plaintiffs failed to make a prima facie case for suspension of deportation and abused the immigration rules in delaying their stay in the United States.

The court decided three cases involving exhaustion of administrative remedies as a prerequisite for judicial review. In the first case, the court ruled that plaintiff failed to timely object to a utility company's investment request during the Securities and Exchange Commission's ("SEC") administrative process, as required by the Public Utility Holding Company Act. Plaintiff was barred from raising this issue on appeal because it was not raised during the administrative process.

The two remaining cases concerned recent congressional enactments designed to reduce frivolous litigation by prisoners and those challenging INS deportation proceedings. The Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995 ("PLRA") and the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 ("IIRIRA) require exhaustion of administrative remedies prior to judicial review. In the PLRA case, a prisoner alleged that prison restrictions on sexually explicit material violated the First Amendment. The Eleventh Circuit ruled that plaintiff's Bivens section 1983 lawsuit was barred by the mandatory exhaustion of administrative remedies provision in the PLRA. The court also held the mandatory administrative exhaustion requirement negated the judicially created futility and adequacy exceptions (allowing judicial review despite a failure to exhaust administrative remedies).

In the IIRIRA case, the court strictly applied the statutory provision authorizing judicial review only upon a final agency decision and after exhaustion of administrative remedies. The case concerned a deportee with a criminal conviction, triggering the most limited judicial review provisions under the IIRIRA.