Justices to hear challenge to travel ban

Ebony Scott
January 22, 2018

The Justice Department has argued that federal immigration laws "confer sweeping authority on the president to restrict the entry of aliens overseas".

The Supreme Court announced Friday that it will hear a challenge to the latest iteration of President Donald Trump's travel sanctions, a high-profile addition to a docket burgeoning with landmark decisions.

The appeals court based its ruling on immigration statutes, not the Constitution's prohibition of religious discrimination.

On January 27, 2017, Trump signed an executive order barring nationals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen and Syria from entering the United States. The legal challenge doesn't apply to the North Korean and Venezuelan portions of the policy.

The Trump order as originally issued also imposed restrictions on entry into this country from North Korea and of some government officials in Venezuela, but the state of Hawaii and other challengers had not contested the inclusion of those nations, so that part of the order will not be reviewed by the Justices. In granting cert, the Court specifically asked the parties to address the question of whether the Executive Order, which restricts immigration from certain countries, violates the Establishment Clause. The justices are likely to hear arguments in the latest case in April and to issue a decision in late June.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, has yet to rule after a hearing in early December.

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"The courts below", Francisco wrote, "have overridden the president's judgments on sensitive matters of national security and foreign relations, and severely restricted the ability of this and future presidents to protect the nation".

A previous version of the travel ban was found by multiple courts to violate the Establishment Clause, because it focused exclusively on Muslim-majority countries and because it seemed to codify proposals made by then-candidate Trump to bar Muslims from entering the United States.

Trump's first travel ban was issued nearly a year ago, nearly immediately after he took office, and was aimed at seven countries. The Supreme Court, however, doesn't typically grant cases without a completed appeals process. The high court, however, has allowed most of the program to take effect.

In its petition to the Supreme Court, DOJ countered that the decision to end DACA "is a classic determination that is committed to agency discretion by law". But in each case, federal judges have pointed to another federal law passed years later that prohibits immigration restrictions based exclusively on a person's country of birth.

"The president has repeatedly explained that the two orders pursue the same aim", Hawaii's brief read.

Other reports by GizPress

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