Trump administration appeals travel ban to Supreme Court

Alvin Kelly
June 5, 2017

Trump's original executive order with similar content, which became known as the "Muslim travel ban", was adopted on January 27, shortly after he assumed office as President of the Unites States.

Trump's administration is battling temporary injunctions on the travel restrictions on two separate fronts through cases that originated in Hawaii and Maryland.

The fate of President Trump's order to ban travelers from six predominantly Muslim nations, blocked by federal courts, soon may be in the hands of the conservative-majority U.S. Supreme Court, where the president's appointee, Justice Neil Gorsuch, could help settle the matter.

That ruling was upheld last month in a ruling by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia which stated in its ruing that the order was racist.

"There is no reason to disturb the 4th Circuit's ruling, which was supported by an overwhelming majority of the judges on the full court, 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", he said.

It banned entry to nationals from Somalia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya and Yemen for 90 days and stopped the refugee programme for 120 days.

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The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals called the national security concerns an after-the-fact justification for a policy that was "intended to bar Muslims from this country". It would take five votes from the now nine justices to grant a stay of the injunction.

Another appeals court on the West Coast is yet to rule on a similar appeal after Trump's second "Muslim travel ban" order was blocked indefinitely by a federal judge in the state of Hawaii at the end of March.

In an order filed without any comment, the Justices set a submission deadline for Monday June 12 on why the Trump travel and refugee order should not be allowed to go into effect, even as legal wrangling continues on the matter in the courts. The first, issued on January 27, sparked protests and chaos in the U.S., with thousands of people taking to the streets and airports before it was successfully blocked by the courts.

There was no timetable on how quickly the Supreme Court would issue a final ruling in the case. The Maryland order was upheld on May 25 by the 4th United States circuit court of appeals. A federal judge in Hawaii also ruled the ban was discriminatory.

The Trump team's request for review from the Supreme Court comes after the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals kept in place a lower-court blockade of the travel ban. That schedule, the government explains, would allow the two sides to file their briefs over the summer, so that the Supreme Court could hear oral argument in the case soon after the court's new term begins in October. "The court's decision creates uncertainty about the president's authority to meet those threats as the Constitution and acts of Congress empower and obligate him to do", the government's filing read.

The order "speaks with vague words of national security, but in context drips with religious intolerance, animus, and discrimination", Gregory wrote. It is unclear if the current case could be preserved if the order is allowed to expire without the Supreme Court ruling.

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