Travel Ban Headed to Supreme Court

Olive Rios
June 4, 2017

In filings Thursday night, the Justice Department asked the high court to temporarily lift injunctions that bar officials from carrying out Trump's directive to suspend visa issuance to citizens of six majority-Muslim countries and halt the flow of refugees to the US from across the globe.

President Donald Trump issued an executive order on March 6, barring people from Libya, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days while the government put in place stricter visa screening.

In order to hear the case, the Supreme Court would now have to grant certioari - or accept the case - by having four of its nine justices vote in the affirmative.

The Justice Department asked the Supreme Court Thursday to break its losing streak in lower courts and revive President Trump's travel ban on immigrants from six predominantly Muslim nations.

Trump says the travel ban is needed to prevent terrorism in the United States.

The Justice Department has asked the court to expedite the case so that the justices could hear it at the beginning of their next term, which starts in October.

U.S. Chief Circuit Judge Roger Gregory said the order "speaks with vague words of national security, but in context drips with religious intolerance, animus, and discrimination".

To succeed, the Trump administration will need the votes of five justices. The justices will likely issue a decision regarding the stay requests in short order, though a decision as to whether to review the case will take longer. They point to the fact that the government did not previously ask the Supreme Court to intervene, even when lower courts denied earlier emergency applications seeking to lift the injunctions. As the case "enjoins a formal national-security determination by the president of the United States" there is also a strong likelihood the court would want to take the case, he added.

"There is no reason to disturb the 4th Circuit's ruling", Omar Jadwat, the ACLU attorney, said in a statement issued Thursday night. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit heard oral argument last month on the administration's appeal of the Hawaii injunction, but has not yet issued an opinion.

The two case in question are similar in that both of them sought to block the travel ban - but the Hawaii case also resulted in the court blocking the Trump administration's plan to suspend the Refugee Admission Program and cut the number of refugees.

However that too was blocked with a federal judge in Hawaii citing "questionable evidence" that move was a matter of national security.

"This order has been the subject of passionate political debate".

The policy has caused some travel industry organizations, particularly the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), to warn that it could harm inbound travel to the United States.

The American Civil Liberties Union sent out a tweet, saying: "We've beat this hateful ban and are ready to do it again".

The legal fight pits the president's significant authority over immigration against what lower courts have said is a policy that purports to be about national security but is meant to target Muslims. Upon court orders to block the ban, the president modified its initial executive order and removed one country, Iraq, from its list in March.

If the Justices do put the two judges' orders on hold, the government could immediately put the restrictions into full effect.

Still, the government argues the courts must defer to the president's national security findings, and blasted the 4th Circuit for imputing discriminatory intent on the basis of the president's campaign statements.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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