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Supreme Court strikes down part of immigration law

FILE - In this Wednesday, March 22, 2017, file photo, Supreme Court Justice nominee Neil Gorsuch listens as he is asked a question by Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, on Capitol Hill in Washington, during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

Susan Walsh, AP

The Supreme Court says part of a federal law that makes it easier to deport immigrants who have been convicted of crimes is too vague to be enforced.

The court's 5-4 decision Monday concerns a provision of immigration law that defines a "crime of violence." Conviction for a crime of violence subjects an immigrant to deportation and usually speeds up the process. Justice Neil Gorsuch, President Trump's first appointee to the court, joined with the four liberal justices in making the decision. 

A federal appeals court in San Francisco previously struck down the provision as too vague, and on Monday the Supreme Court agreed. The appeals court based its ruling on a 2015 Supreme Court decision that struck down a similarly worded part of another federal law that imposes longer prison sentences on repeat criminals.