Trump Asks Supreme Court to Reinstate Travel Ban
by Dan McCue, Court House News, June 2, 2017
(CN) – The Trump administration on Thursday night asked the Supreme Court to immediately reinstate its ban on travelers from six mostly Muslim countries, arguing the Fourth Circuit made several mistakes in ruling against the Trump travel policy last week.
On May 25, an en banc Fourth Circuit ruled 10-3 that the Trump administration’s claims the ban addresses national security concerns is an after-the-fact justification for a policy that was “rooted in religious animus and intended to bar Muslims from this country.”
In addition to its petition for a grant of certiorari, the administration applied for a stay in the Fourth Circuit as well as application to stay a Hawaiian injunction pending appeal in the Ninth Circuit (State of Hawaii, et al v. Donald Trump, et al.)
In a statement, Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said, “We have asked the Supreme Court to hear this important case and are confident that President Trump’s executive order is well within his lawful authority to keep the Nation safe and protect our communities from terrorism.”
“The President is not required to admit people from countries that sponsor or shelter terrorism, until he determines that they can be properly vetted and do not pose a security risk to the United States,” Flores said.
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 U.S. from across the globe.
The Trump administration also asked the justices to add the legality of the travel ban to the high court’s docket so the case would be ready for argument this fall.
Under the proposed travel ban, federal immigration officials would have 90 days to decide what changes are necessary before people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen may resume applying for visas.
The administration also wants to be able to suspend the refugee program for 120 days, a separate aspect of the policy that has been blocked by a federal judge in Hawaii and is now being considered by the Ninth Circuit.
Trump signed his first executive order on travel a week after he took office in January. It applied to travelers from the six countries as well as Iraq and took effect immediately, causing chaos and panic at airports as the Homeland Security Department scrambled to figure out who the order covered and how it was to be implemented.
A federal judge blocked it eight days later, an order that was upheld by a Ninth Circuit panel. Rather than pursue an appeal, the administration said it would revise the policy.
In March, Trump issued a narrower order, but federal courts that have examined it so far have blocked it as well.
Omar Jadwat, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, reacted to the administration’s filing by saying “There is no reason to disturb the Fourth Circuit’s ruling, which was supported by an overwhelming majority of the judges on the full court.
“[It] is consistent with rulings from other courts across the nation, and enforces a fundamental principle that protects all of us from government condemnation of our religious beliefs,” Jadwat said.
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