Mexican couple asks Supreme Court for right to sue over border agent killing their son

Today at the Supreme Court, a Mexican couple is seeking the right to sue over the killing of their teenage son by a U.S. Border Patrol agent who fired across the U.S.-Mexican border.

Justice Anthony Kennedy and other conservative justices suggested during argument Tuesday that the boy's death on the Mexican side of the border was enough to keep the matter out of U.S. courts.

The four liberal justices indicated they would support the parents' lawsuit because the shooting happened close to the border in an area in which the two nations share responsibility for upkeep.

The case arose from an incident that took place in June 2010 in the cement culvert that separates El Paso, Texas, from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

The circumstances of exactly what occurred are in dispute, but what is clear is that the agent was on the U.S. side of the border when he fired his gun, striking Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca on the Mexican side.

A 4-4 tie could cause the court to hold onto the case and schedule a new round of argument if Judge Neil Gorsuch is confirmed as the ninth justice.

With files from the Associated Press.


Steve Vladeck, professor of law at Texas University School of Law; his teaching and research focus on federal jurisdiction, constitutional law, and national security law; he is co-counsel for the Hernandez family

Andrew Kent, professor of law at Fordham University School of Law; his teaching includes constitutional law, foreign relations law, federal courts and procedure, national security law and public international law