Aronov v. Chertoff, No. 07-1588. This is an Equal Access to Justice Act ("EAJA"), 28 U.S.C. § 2412 case. The government didn’t act on a naturalization petition. He went to court and the government and Aranov agreed that this should be remanded so he can be sworn in. He was sworn in as a citizen. The District Court held that the government’s position wasn’t substantially justified. Applying Buckhannon Board and Care Home, Inc. v. West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, 532 U.S. 598 (2001), the First says that the petitioner was a prevailing party because of course the legal relationship of the parties changed, there was a "judicial imprimatur" for the this change. What was really going on was a “remand order” rather than an administrative order.
Anyway, getting to the merits, this all seems to involve a question of whether the government must preform a comprehensive “name check” on potential new citizens. Turns out, it doesn’t. The government then tries to bring in Chevron U.S.A. Inc. v. Natural Resource Defense Council, Inc., 467 U.S. 837, 842-45 (1984), but the First doesn’t like that and notes that even if it could invoke Chevron, “deference to its general policies does not require us to find substantial justification in this particular instance” because there is a statute gives the District Courts jurisdiction to act on slow naturalization petitions, and even the APA tells administrative agencies not to stall.
Lynch dissents saying that the remand wasn’t a consent decree or anything close to it. Moreover, the government’s position was substantially justified and name checks are part of the criminal background check. He then foretells of doom when the government agrees to remands.