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IANAL, so can someone help me understand: How is this the final say if it's out of a court in Boston? Isn't that only one circuit?

It is not necessarily the final say. DHS may turn around and challenge the ruling which may then be picked up by the Court of Appeals for further review. However, the Court of Appeals does not have to review the case and even if they did, they very well may agree with the ruling from the district court.

So as a practical matter, is it likely border officials will honor the ruling?

As with virtually all govt authority figures whose 'authoritah' gets constrained by pesky constitutional 'noise', they will adopt the minimal appearance of compliance that their dept lawyers estimate they can get away with. I wish I was kidding.

It's definitely a good ruling to have on the books but it could very well just end up being a checkbox matter to have a pretense of "suspicion" (ie "this person appeared nervous").

Depending on the jurisdiction of this district court the DHS might even decide that it doesn't apply outside that jurisdiction until a higher court rules on it.

Well, I'll be more tempted to fly into logan, at least for now…

But yeah, all hangs on what is "suspicion" (or what passes for it in practice), compared to say a targeted op or warrant provided by a court (even if its one of those secret courts like FISA).

Aren't rulings in one circuit often used as arguments in another circuit?

Obviously it's not the final word unless it comes from the Supreme Court.

IANAL, but AFAIK attorneys can (and often do) cite a different court's ruling as support for their argument but if the cited court is not above the current court and in the same 'branch' of the tree, the current court isn't bound by it.

That's why supreme court rulings are such a big deal. They are the ultimate 'root' authority.

It's not even a circuit yet, this is a district court judgement. It is not a final say.

Hypothetically if it weren't appealed would it be the final say?

Only in the same federal district that issued the ruling. And even then its not binding. A different judge in the same district could come to a different conclusion.

I'm not sure what effect this judgement even has. The court declared that the search policy was unconstitutional but denied the request for an injunction, so I think right now there's nothing preventing the ICE from continuing to search devices even in that district?

The US has common law, so I believe this ruling becomes precedent unless it is overturned.

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