Trump administration appeals travel ban to Supreme Court

Elias Hubbard
June 10, 2017

The executive order "speaks with vague words of national security", wrote Chief Judge Roger Gregory, "but in context drips with religious intolerance, animus, and discrimination".

Trump and the Justice Department are asking the Supreme Court to review the case in the 4th Circuit, and to place stays on the injunctions that resulted from both cases.

It also asked the Supreme Court to lift another US-wide injunction issued by a federal judge in a separate case in Hawaii. A San Francisco-based 9th district appeals court is now considering the Hawaii case.

In turning to the high court, Justice Department lawyers said the 4th Circuit should have considered only the language of the executive order and not second guessed the president's motivations.

In the filing to the Supreme Court, acting Solicitor General Jeff Wall acknowledged the "passionate political debate" on the subject, but pointed out the courts' second-guessing of the president's authority on national security and immigration was without precedent.

Last time Donald Trump's Muslim ban got shot down by an appeals court and Trump threatened "SEE YOU IN COURT", the Justice Department instead made a decision to rewrite the inherently flawed ban.

The Trump administration is challenging that appeals court ruling and hoping that the Supreme Court, now staffed with Trump pick Justice Neil Gorsuch, will grant a stay and allow the ban to go into effect while it hears the administration's challenge.

Q. What is happening in the Supreme Court? The justices are scheduled to end their work at the end of the month. The order also placed a temporary moratorium on entry of refugees from any country while vetting procedures were reviewed. The decision could come within the next two weeks.

The contested executive order is a revised version of Trump's first attempt at a travel ban, which was issued in his first week in office - and which sparked a lawsuit led by Washington state. The move caused chaos at airports with nationals from Somalia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya and Yemen barred form entry for 90 days and the entire refugee programme halted for 120 days. The Supreme Court is not required to hear the case but is likely to due to its importance and the fact that the request is being made by the US government.

A revised order was then signed in March to try to address legal issues, and Iraq was removed from the list.

Despite the changes, federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland blocked key parts of the policy before it was to take effect. The majority opinion cited Trump campaign pledges to keep Muslims out of the country.

Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project, said the appeals court ruling should stand.

The official request comes one week after the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the executive order, saying it was "rooted in religious animus and meant to bar Muslims from this country". One notable example of a successful emergency application was when the court in February 2016 granted on a 5-4 vote a request by states and industry groups to block President Barack Obama's climate regulations. The court has a 5-4 conservative majority, with Justice Anthony Kennedy - a conservative who sometimes sides with the court's four liberals - the frequent swing vote.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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