Trump Appeals Travel Ban to Supreme Court

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.

"But whatever one's views, the precedent set by this case for the judiciary's proper role in reviewing the president's national-security and immigration authority will transcend this debate, this Order, and this constitutional moment", he wrote.The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals called the national security concerns an after-the-fact justification for a policy that was "rooted in religious animus and meant to bar Muslims from this country".The executive order was issued in early March. He sometimes sides with the court's four liberals and could be the pivotal vote. It says the move is justified by the need to keep the nation safe, and it says presidents have nearly unlimited discretion to make national-security judgments and to control immigration. The administration is then likely to file its own response to the challengers' legal arguments before the justices issue an order granting or denying the application. The case will give the first indications of how Chief Justice John Roberts' court will approach one of the most controversial presidents in the nation's history.

There are two separate challenges before the court. The high court also is being asked to uphold the constitutionality of the Trump travel policy, which lower courts have blocked, ruling it shows anti-Muslim prejudice.

Trump is asking the court to hear arguments on an expedited basis and to reinstate the executive order in the interim.

Trump's executive order barred entry into the United States for 90 days for residents of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

It would take the votes of five of the nine justices to grant the government's request, and require a finding that the government was likely to prevail on the merits of its argument - and that it would be irreparably harmed if the 4th Circuit's decision remained in place.

While the Supreme Court is unlikely to hear the case before the fall since special summer sessions of the Supreme Court are rare, the Government has asked for an emergency stay of the current injunction so the travel ban can go into effect while awaiting a fall hearing.

A three-judge panel of the San Francisco-based 9th Circuit is considering the Hawaii injunction but has not yet ruled on it.

As it has argued in lower courts, the Trump administration maintains that the president has "broad discretion" to suspend or ban the entry of foreigners into the US.

The director of the group's Immigrants' Rights Project, Omar Jadwat, says there's no reason to undo a lower court's ruling that blocked the policy.

There is one other potential wrinkle involving timing. The White House hopes the court will reinstate the plan to temporarily block visitors from six majority Muslim countries after it had been derailed by lower courts.

Trump's administration says the president has 'broad authority to prevent aliens overseas from entering this country when he deems it in the nation's interest'.

But the administration's argument appears to be that the clock wouldn't start until the policy can take effect.

  • Larry Hoffman