Nasrallah v. Barr, Attorney General

Certiorari To The United States Court Of Appeals For The Eleventh Circuit

No. 18-1432. Argued March 2, 2020--Decided June 1, 2020

Under federal immigration law, noncitizens who commit certain crimes are removable from the United States. During removal proceedings, a noncitizen who demonstrates a likelihood of torture in the designated country of removal is entitled to relief under the international Convention Against Torture (CAT) and may not be removed to that country. If an immigration judge orders removal and denies CAT relief, the noncitizen may appeal both orders to the Board of Immigration Appeals and then to a federal court of appeals. But if the noncitizen has committed any crime specified in 8 U. S. C. §1252(a)(2)(C), the scope of judicial review of the removal order is limited to constitutional and legal challenges. See §1252(a)(2)(D).

The Government sought to remove petitioner Nidal Khalid Nasrallah after he pled guilty to receiving stolen property. Nasrallah applied for CAT relief to prevent his removal to Lebanon. The Immigration Judge ordered Nasrallah removed and granted CAT relief. On appeal, the Board of Immigration Appeals vacated the CAT relief order and ordered Nasrallah removed to Lebanon. The Eleventh Circuit declined to review Nasrallah’s factual challenges to the CAT order because Nasrallah had committed a §1252(a)(2)(C) crime and Circuit precedent precluded judicial review of factual challenges to both the final order of removal and the CAT order in such cases.

Held: Sections 1252(a)(2)(C) and (D) do not preclude judicial review of a noncitizen’s factual challenges to a CAT order. Pp. 5–13.

(a) Three interlocking statutes establish that CAT orders may be reviewed together with final orders of removal in a court of appeals. The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 authorizes noncitizens to obtain direct “review of a final order of re moval” in a court of appeals, §1252(a)(1), and requires that all challenges arising from the removal proceeding be consolidated for review, §1252(b)(9). The Foreign Affairs Reform and Restructuring Act of 1998 (FARRA) implements Article 3 of CAT and provides for judicial review of CAT claims “as part of the review of a final order of removal.” §2242(d). And the REAL ID Act of 2005 clarifies that final orders of removal and CAT orders may be reviewed only in the courts of appeals. §§1252(a)(4)–(5). Pp. 5–6.

(b) Sections 1252(a)(2)(C) and (D) preclude judicial review of factual challenges only to final orders of removal. A CAT order is not a final “order of removal,” which in this context is defined as an order “concluding that the alien is deportable or ordering deportation,” §1101(a)(47)(A). Nor does a CAT order merge into a final order of removal, because a CAT order does not affect the validity of a final order of removal. See INS v. Chadha, 462 U. S. 919, 938. FARRA provides that a CAT order is reviewable “as part of the review of a final order of removal,” not that it is the same as, or affects the validity of, a final order of removal. Had Congress wished to preclude judicial review of factual challenges to CAT orders, it could have easily done so. Pp. 6–9.

(c) The standard of review for factual challenges to CAT orders is substantial evidence—i.e., the agency’s “findings of fact are conclusive unless any reasonable adjudicator would be compelled to conclude to the contrary.” §1252(b)(4)(B).

The Government insists that the statute supplies no judicial review of factual challenges to CAT orders, but its arguments are unpersuasive. First, the holding in Foti v. INS, 375 U. S. 217, depends on an outdated interpretation of “final orders of deportation” and so does not control here. Second, the Government argues that §1252(a)(1) supplies judicial review only of final orders of removal, and if a CAT order is not merged into that final order, then no statute authorizes review of the CAT claim. But both FARRA and the REAL ID Act provide for direct review of CAT orders in the courts of appeals. Third, the Government’s assertion that Congress would not bar review of factual challenges to a removal order and allow such challenges to a CAT order ignores the importance of adherence to the statutory text as well as the good reason Congress had for distinguishing the two—the facts that rendered the noncitizen removable are often not in serious dispute, while the issues related to a CAT order will not typically have been litigated prior to the alien’s removal proceedings. Fourth, the Government’s policy argument—that judicial review of the factual components of a CAT order would unduly delay removal proceedings—has not been borne out in practice in those Circuits that have allowed factual challenges to CAT orders. Fifth, the Government fears that a decision allowing factual review of CAT orders would lead to factual challenges to other orders in the courts of appeals. But orders denying discretionary relief under §1252(a)(2)(B) are not affected by this decision, and the question whether factual challenges to statutory withholding orders under §1231(b)(3)(A) are subject to judicial review is not presented here. Pp. 9–13.

762 Fed. Appx. 638, reversed.

Kavanaugh, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Roberts, C. J., and Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, Kagan, and Gorsuch, JJ., joined. Thomas, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which Alito, J., joined.


Thole et al. v. U. S. Bank N. A. et al.

Certiorari To The United States Court Of Appeals For The Eighth Circuit

No. 17-1712. Argued January 13, 2020--Decided June 1, 2020

Plaintiffs James Thole and Sherry Smith are retired participants in U. S. Bank’s defined-benefit retirement plan, which guarantees them a fixed payment each month regardless of the plan’s value or its fiduciaries’ good or bad investment decisions. Both have been paid all of their monthly pension benefits so far and are legally and contractually entitled to those payments for the rest of their lives. Nevertheless, they filed a putative class-action suit against U. S. Bank and others (collectively, U. S. Bank) under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), alleging that the defendants violated ERISA’s duties of loyalty and prudence by poorly investing the plan’s assets. They request the repayment of approximately $750 million to the plan in losses suffered due to mismanagement; injunctive relief, including replacement of the plan’s fiduciaries; and attorney’s fees. The District Court dismissed the case, and the Eighth Circuit affirmed on the ground that the plaintiffs lack statutory standing.

Held: Because Thole and Smith have no concrete stake in the lawsuit, they lack Article III standing. See Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U. S. 555, 560–561. Win or lose, they would still receive the exact same monthly benefits they are already entitled to receive.

None of the plaintiffs’ arguments suffices to establish Article III standing. First, the plaintiffs rely on a trust analogy in arguing that an ERISA participant has an equitable or property interest in the plan and that injuries to the plan are therefore injuries to the participants. But participants in a defined-benefit plan are not similarly situated to the beneficiaries of a private trust or to participants in a defined- contribution plan, and they possess no equitable or property interest in the plan, see Hughes Aircraft Co. v. Jacobson, 525 U. S. 432, 439–441. Second, the plaintiffs cannot assert representative standing based on injuries to the plan where they themselves have not “suffered an injury in fact,” Hollingsworth v. Perry, 570 U. S. 693, 708, or been legally or contractually appointed to represent the plan. Third, the fact that ERISA affords all participants—including defined-benefit plan participants—a cause of action to sue does not satisfy the injury-in-fact requirement here. “Article III standing requires a concrete injury even in the context of a statutory violation.” Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, 578 U. S. ___, ___. Fourth, the plaintiffs contend that meaningful regulation of plan fiduciaries is possible only if they may sue to target perceived fiduciary misconduct. But this Court has long rejected that argument for Article III standing, see Valley Forge Christian College v. Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Inc., 454 U. S. 464, 489, and defined-benefit plans are regulated and monitored in multiple ways.

The plaintiffs’ amici assert that defined-benefit plan participants have standing to sue if the plan’s mismanagement was so egregious that it substantially increased the risk that the plan and the employer would fail and be unable to pay the participants’ future benefits. The plaintiffs do not assert that theory of standing here, nor did their complaint allege that level of mismanagement. Pp. 2–8.

873 F. 3d 617, affirmed.

Kavanaugh, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Roberts, C. J., and Thomas, Alito, and Gorsuch, JJ., joined. Thomas, J., filed a concurring opinion, in which Gorsuch, J., joined. Sotomayor, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which Ginsburg, Breyer, and Kagan, JJ., joined.


Banister v. Davis, Director, Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Correctional Institutions Division

Certiorari To The United States Court Of Appeals For The Fifth Circuit

No. 18-6943. Argued December 4, 2019--Decided June 1, 2020

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e) allows a litigant to file a motion to alter or amend a district court’s judgment within 28 days from the entry of judgment, with no possibility of an extension. The Rule enables a district court to “rectify its own mistakes in the period immediately following” its decision, White v. New Hampshire Dept. of Employment Security, 455 U. S. 445, 450, but not to address new arguments or evidence that the moving party could have raised before the decision. A timely filed motion suspends the finality of the original judgment for purposes of appeal, and only the district court’s disposition of the motion restores finality and starts the 30-day appeal clock. If an appeal follows, the ruling on the motion merges with the original determination into a single judgment.

Title 28 U. S. C. §2244(b), the so-called gatekeeping provision of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA), governs federal habeas proceedings. Under AEDPA, a state prisoner is entitled to one fair opportunity to seek federal habeas relief from his conviction. Section 2244(b), however, sets stringent limits on second or successive habeas applications. Among those restrictions, a prisoner may not reassert any claims “presented in a prior application,” §2244(b)(1), and may bring a new claim only in limited situations. Because habeas proceedings are civil in nature, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure generally apply, but statutory habeas restrictions, including §2244(b), trump any “inconsistent” Rule. §2254 Rule 12.

Petitioner Gregory Banister was convicted by a Texas court of aggravated assault and sentenced to 30 years in prison. After exhausting his state remedies, he filed for federal habeas relief, which the District Court denied. Banister timely filed a Rule 59(e) motion, which the District Court also denied. He then filed a notice of appeal in accordance with the timeline for appealing a judgment after the denial of a Rule 59(e) motion. But the Fifth Circuit construed Banister’s Rule 59(e) motion as a successive habeas petition and dismissed his appeal as untimely.

Held: Because a Rule 59(e) motion to alter or amend a habeas court’s judgment is not a second or successive habeas petition under 28 U. S. C. §2244(b), Banister’s appeal was timely. Pp. 5–16.

(a) The phrase “second or successive application” is a term of art and does not “simply ‘refe[r]’ ” to all habeas filings made “ ‘second or successively in time,’ ” following an initial application. Magwood v. Patterson, 561 U. S. 320, 332. In addressing what qualifies as second or successive, this Court has looked to historical habeas doctrine and practice and AEDPA’s purposes. Here, both point toward permitting Rule 59(e) motions in habeas proceedings.

Prior to AEDPA, the Court held in Browder v. Director, Dept. of Corrections of Ill., 434 U. S. 257, that Rule 59(e) applied in habeas proceedings. The Rule, the Court recounted, derived from courts’ common-law power “to alter or amend [their] own judgments during[ ] the term of court in which [they were] rendered,” prior to any appeal, including “in habeas corpus cases.” Id., at 270. Although the drafters of the Federal Rules eventually replaced the “term of court” power with Rule 59(e), the Court concluded that this did nothing to narrow the set of judgments amenable to alteration. The record of judicial decisions accords with that view. Pre-AEDPA, habeas courts were to dismiss repetitive applications except in “rare case[s].” Kuhlmann v. Wilson, 477 U. S. 436, 451. Yet in the half century from Rule 59(e)’s adoption through Browder to AEDPA’s enactment, there exists only one dismissal of a Rule 59(e) motion as impermissibly successive. In all other cases, the district courts resolved Rule 59(e) motions on the merits.

Congress passed AEDPA against this backdrop, and gave no indication that it meant to change what qualifies as a successive application. Nor do AEDPA’s purposes of reducing delay, conserving judicial resources, and promoting finality suggest any different result. Rule 59(e) offers a narrow, 28-day window to ask for relief; limits requests for reconsideration to matters properly raised in the challenged judgment; and consolidates proceedings by producing a single final judgment for appeal. Indeed, the Rule may make habeas proceedings more efficient by enabling a district court to reverse a mistaken judgment or to clarify its reasoning so as to make an appeal unnecessary. Pp. 5–12.

(b) Gonzalez v. Crosby, 545 U. S. 524, which held that a Rule 60(b) motion counts as a second or successive habeas application if it “attacks the federal court’s previous resolution of a claim on the merits,” id., at 532, does not alter that conclusion. Rule 60(b) differs from Rule 59(e) in just about every way that matters here. Whereas Rule 59(e) derives from a common-law court’s plenary power to revise its judgment before anyone could appeal, Rule 60(b) codifies various writs used to collaterally attack a court’s already completed judgment. That distinction was not lost on pre-AEDPA habeas courts, which routinely dismissed Rule 60(b) motions for raising repetitive claims. Next, the Rules’ modern-day operations also diverge, with only Rule 60(b) undermining AEDPA’s scheme to prevent delay and protect finality. That is because a Rule 60(b) motion, which can arise long after the denial of a prisoner’s initial petition, generally goes beyond pointing out alleged errors in the just-issued decision. Still more, a Rule 60(b) motion “does not affect the [original] judgment’s finality or suspend its operation” and is appealable as “a separate final order.” Stone v. INS, 514 U. S. 386, 401. Left unchecked, a Rule 60(b) motion threatens serial habeas litigation, while a Rule 59(e) motion is a one-time effort to point out alleged errors in a just-issued decision before taking a single appeal. Pp. 12–16.

Reversed and remanded.

Kagan, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Roberts, C. J., and Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh, JJ., joined. Alito, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which Thomas, J., joined.


Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico v. Aurelius Investment, LLC, et al.

Certiorari To The United States Court Of Appeals For The First Circuit

No. 18-1334. Argued October 15, 2019--Decided June 1, 2020 1

In 2016, in response to a fiscal crisis in Puerto Rico, Congress invoked its Article IV power to “make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory . . . belonging to the United States,” §3, cl. 2, to enact the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA). PROMESA created a Financial Oversight and Management Board, whose seven voting members are to be appointed by the President without the Senate’s advice and consent. Congress authorized the Board to file for bankruptcy on behalf of Puerto Rico or its instrumentalities, to supervise and modify Puerto Rico’s laws and budget, and to gather evidence and conduct investigations in support of these efforts.

After President Obama selected the Board’s members, the Board filed bankruptcy petitions on behalf of the Commonwealth and five of its entities. Both court and Board had decided a number of matters when several creditors moved to dismiss the proceedings on the ground that the Board members’ selection violated the Constitution’s Appointments Clause, which says that the President “shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint . . . all . . . Officers of the United States . . . .” Art. II, §2, cl. 2. The court denied the motions, but the First Circuit reversed. It held that the Board members’ selection violated the Appointments Clause but also concluded that any Board actions taken prior to its decision were valid under the “de facto officer” doctrine.

Held:

1. The Appointments Clause constrains the appointments power as to all officers of the United States, even those who exercise power in or in relation to Puerto Rico. The Constitution’s structure provides strong reason to believe that this is so. The Appointments Clause reflects an allocation of responsibility, between President and Senate, in cases involving appointment to high federal office. Concerned about possible manipulation of appointments, the Founders both concentrated the appointment power and distributed it, ensuring that primary responsibility for important nominations would fall on the President while also ensuring that the Senate’s advice and consent power would provide a check on that power. Other, similar structural constraints in the Constitution apply to all exercises of federal power, including those related to Article IV entities. Cf., e.g., Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority v. Citizens for Abatement of Aircraft Noise, Inc., 501 U. S. 252, 270–271 (MWAA). The objectives advanced by the Appointments Clause counsel strongly in favor of applying that Clause to all officers of the United States, even those with powers and duties related to Puerto Rico. Indeed, the Clause’s text firmly indicates that it applies to the appointment of all “Officers of the United States.” And history confirms this reading. Congress’ longstanding practice of requiring the Senate’s advice and consent for territorial Governors with important federal duties supports the inference that Congress expected the Appointments Clause to apply to at least some officials with supervisory authority over the Territories. Pp. 5–9.

2. The Appointments Clause does not restrict the appointment or selection of the Board members. Pp. 9–21.

(a) The Appointments Clause does not restrict the appointment of local officers that Congress vests with primarily local duties. The Clause’s language suggests a distinction between federal officers—who exercise power of the National Government—and nonfederal officers—who exercise power of some other government. Pursuant to Article I, §8, cl. 17, and Article IV, §3, Congress has long legislated for entities that are not States—the District of Columbia and the Territories. In so doing, Congress has both made local law directly and also created local government structures, staffed by local officials, who themselves have made and enforced local law. This suggests that when Congress creates local offices using these two unique powers, the officers exercise power of the local government, not the Federal Government. Historical practice indicates that a federal law’s creation of an office does not automatically make its holder an officer of the United States. Congress has for more than two centuries created local offices for the Territories and District of Columbia that are filled through election or local executive appointment. And the history of Puerto Rico—whose public officials with important local responsibilities have been selected in ways that the Appointments Clause does not describe—is consistent with the history of other entities that fall within Article IV’s scope and with the history of the District of Columbia. This historical practice indicates that when an officer of one of these local governments has primarily local duties, he is not an officer of the United States within the meaning of the Appointments Clause. Pp. 9–14.

(b) The Board members here have primarily local powers and duties. PROMESA says that the Board is “an entity within the territorial government” that “shall not be considered a department, agency, establishment, or instrumentality of the Federal Government,” §101(c), 130 Stat. 553, and Congress gave the Board a structure, duties, and related powers that are consistent with this statement. The Board’s broad investigatory powers—administering oaths, issuing subpoenas, taking evidence, and demanding data from governments and creditors alike—are backed by Puerto Rican, not federal, law. Its powers to oversee the development of Puerto Rico’s fiscal and budgetary plans are also quintessentially local. And in exercising its power to initiate bankruptcy proceedings, the Board acts on behalf of, and in the interests of, Puerto Rico. Pp. 14–17.

(c) Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U. S. 1, Freytag v. Commissioner, 501 U. S. 868, and Lucia v. SEC, 585 U. S. ___, do not provide the relevant legal test here, for each considered an Appointments Clause problem concerning the importance or significance of duties that were indisputably federal or national in nature. Nor do Lebron v. National Railroad Passenger Corporation, 513 U. S. 374, or MWAA, 501 U. S. 252, help. Lebron considered whether Amtrak was a governmental or a private entity, but the fact that the Board is a Government entity does not answer the “primarily local versus primarily federal” question. And the MWAA Court expressly declined to address Appointments Clause questions. However, the Court’s analysis in O’Donoghue v. United States, 289 U. S. 516, and Palmore v. United States, 411 U. S. 389, does provide a rough analogy. In O’Donoghue, the Court found that Article III’s tenure and salary protections applied to judges of the District of Columbia courts because those courts exercised the judicial power of the United States. But the Court reached the seemingly opposite con clusion in Palmore, a case decided after Congress had altered the nature of the District of Columbia local courts so that its judges adjudicated primarily local issues. Pp. 17–21.

3. Given the conclusion reached here, there is no need to consider whether to overrule the “Insular Cases” and their progeny, see, e.g., Downes v. Bidwell, 182 U. S. 244, 287, to consider the application of the de facto officer doctrine, see Ryder v. United States, 515 U. S. 177, or to decide questions about the application of the Federal Relations Act and Public Law 600. Pp. 21–22.

915 F. 3d 838, reversed and remanded.

Breyer, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Roberts, C. J., and Ginsburg, Alito, Kagan, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh, JJ., joined. Thomas, J., and Sotomayor, J., filed opinions concurring in the judgment.

Notes
1 Together with No. 18–1475, Aurelius Investment, LLC, et al. v. Commonwealth of Puerto Rico et al., No. 18–1496, Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors of All Title III Debtors Other Than COFINA v. Aurelius Investment, LLC, et al., No. 18–1514, United States v. Aurelius Investment, LLC, et al., and No. 18–1521, Unión de Trabajadores de la Industria Elećtrica y Riego, Inc. v. Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico et al., also on certiorari to the same court.


GE ENERGY POWER CONVERSION FRANCE SAS, CORP., fka CONVERTEAM SAS v. OUTOKUMPU STAINLESS USA, LLC, et al.

Certiorari To The United States Court Of Appeals For The Eleventh Circuit

No. 18-1048. Argued January 21, 2020--Decided June 1, 2020

ThyssenKrupp Stainless USA, LLC, entered into three contracts with F. L. Industries, Inc., for the construction of cold rolling mills at ThyssenKrupp’s steel manufacturing plant in Alabama. Each contract contained a clause requiring arbitration of any contract dispute. F. L. Industries then entered into a subcontractor agreement with petitioner (GE Energy) for the provision of nine motors to power the cold rolling mills. After the motors for the cold rolling mills allegedly failed, Outokumpu Stainless USA, LLC (which acquired ownership of the plant), and its insurers sued GE Energy in Alabama state court. GE Energy removed the case to federal court under 9 U. S. C. §205. It then moved to dismiss and compel arbitration, relying on the arbitration clauses in the F. L. Industries and ThyssenKrupp contracts. The District Court granted the motion, concluding that both Outokumpu and GE Energy were parties to the agreement. The Eleventh Circuit reversed. It concluded that the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (New York Convention or Convention) allows enforcement of an arbitration agreement only by the parties that actually signed the agreement and that GE Energy was a nonsignatory. It also held that allowing GE Energy to rely on state-law equitable estoppel doctrines to enforce the arbitration agreement would conflict with the Convention’s signatory requirement.

Held: The New York Convention does not conflict with domestic equitable estoppel doctrines that permit the enforcement of arbitration agreements by nonsignatories. Pp. 3–12.

(a) Chapter 1 of the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) does not “alter background principles of state contract law regarding the scope of agreements (including the question of who is bound by them).” Arthur Andersen LLP v. Carlisle, 556 U. S. 624, 630. The “ ‘traditional principles’ of state law” that apply under Chapter 1 include doctrines, like equitable estoppel, authorizing contract enforcement by a nonsignatory. Id., at 631–632.

The New York Convention is a multilateral treaty addressing international arbitration. One Article of the Convention addresses arbitration agreements—Article II—and one provision of Article II addresses the enforcement of those agreements—Article II(3). Article II(3) provides that courts of a contracting state “shall . . . refer the parties to arbitration” when the parties to an action entered into a written agreement to arbitrate and one of the parties requests such a referral.

Chapter 2 of the FAA grants federal courts jurisdiction over actions governed by the Convention. As relevant here, Chapter 2 provides that “Chapter 1 applies to actions and proceedings brought under this chapter to the extent that [Chapter 1] is not in conflict with this chapter or the Convention.” 9 U. S. C. §208. Pp. 3–6.

(b) The application of familiar tools of treaty interpretation establishes that the state-law equitable estoppel doctrines permitted under Chapter 1 do not “conflict with . . . the Convention.” §208. Pp. 6–11.

(1) The text of the New York Convention does not address whether nonsignatories may enforce arbitration agreements under domestic doctrines such as equitable estoppel. The Convention is simply silent on the issue of nonsignatory enforcement. This silence is dispositive because nothing in the Convention’s text could be read to conflict with the application of domestic equitable estoppel doctrines. Article II(3)—the only provision in the Convention addressing the enforcement of arbitration agreements—contains no exclusionary language; it does not state that arbitration agreements shall be enforced only in the identified circumstances. Given that the Convention was drafted against the backdrop of domestic law, it would be unnatural to read Article II(3) to displace domestic doctrines in the absence of such language. This interpretation is especially appropriate because Article II contemplates using domestic doctrines to fill gaps in the Convention. Pp. 6–7.

(2) This interpretation is confirmed by the Convention’s negotiation and drafting history as well as “ ‘the postratification understanding’ of signatory nations,” Medellín v. Texas, 552 U. S. 491, 507.

Cherry-picked generalizations from the negotiating and drafting history cannot be used to create a rule that finds no support in the treaty’s text. Here, to the extent that the Convention’s drafting history sheds any light on the treaty’s meaning, it shows only that the drafters sought to impose baseline requirements on contracting states so that signatories would “not be permitted to decline enforcement of such agreements on the basis of parochial views of their desirability or in a manner that would diminish the mutually binding nature of the agreements.” Scherk v. Alberto-Culver Co., 417 U. S. 506, 520, n. 15.

The postratification understanding of other contracting states—as evidenced by the “[d]ecisions of the courts of other Convention signatories,” El Al Israel Airlines, Ltd. v. Tsui Yuan Tseng, 525 U. S. 155, 175, and the “postratification conduct” of contracting state governments, Zicherman v. Korean Air Lines Co., 516 U. S. 217, 227—may also serve as an aid to this Court’s interpretation. Here, numerous sources indicate that the New York Convention does not prohibit the application of domestic law addressing the enforcement of arbitration agreements. These sources, however, are from decades after the fi-nalization of the New York Convention’s text in 1958. This diminishes their value as evidence of the original understanding of the treaty’s meaning.

Finally, because the Court’s textual analysis and the Executive’s interpretation of the Convention align here, there is no need to determine whether the Executive’s understanding is entitled to “weight” or “deference.” Cf. Edelman v. Lynchburg College, 535 U. S. 106, 114–115, n. 8. Pp. 7–11.

(c) The Court of Appeals may address on remand whether GE Energy can enforce the arbitration clauses under equitable estoppel principles and which body of law governs that determination. Pp. 11–12.

902 F. 3d 1316, reversed and remanded.

Thomas, J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court. Sotomayor, J., filed a concurring opinion.