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Supreme Court gives Trump more time to file travel ban briefs

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The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed the Trump administration more time to file papers responding to an appeals court ruling that upheld a block on a proposed travel ban on people entering the United States from six Muslim-majority countries.

The move likely delays any high court action on the administration’s two emergency applications asking for the ban issued on March 6 to immediately go into effect. The March ban was Trump’s second effort to impose travel restrictions through an executive order.

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An entry on the Supreme Court docket said that the administration can file its new brief on Thursday. Hawaii, which challenged the ban and won in the appeals court, is permitted to file its own brief on June 20, meaning the court is unlikely to act on the emergency application until next week at the earliest.

The court was responding to a request made by Acting Solicitor General Jeff Wall, who said in a letter that the ruling on Monday by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco means the government needs to file a new brief.

In an added dramatic twist, Trump himself plans to go to the Supreme Court on Thursday for the investiture of Justice Neil Gorsuch, an administration official said. Trump nominated Gorsuch in January. Gorsuch’s confirmation by the U.S. Senate in April restored the court’s 5-4 conservative majority.

Trump’s visit to the court would be his first since he became president on Jan. 20 and would put him face-to-face with the nine justices as they consider the fate of his travel ban unless the court acts before then. It is common practice for presidents to attend such events, which are purely ceremonial.

The Supreme Court could discuss how to act on the emergency application at its private conference on June 22, a week after the Gorsuch ceremony.

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Wall wrote that more time was needed because the 9th Circuit ruling in favor of the state of Hawaii is “the first addressing the executive order at issue to rest relief on statutory rather than constitutional grounds.”

Hawaii’s lawyer, Neal Katyal, filed his own letter objecting to the government’s timeline, although he agreed that both sides needed to file briefs responding to Monday’s ruling.

Federal judges in Maryland and Hawaii blocked Trump’s 90-day ban on travelers from Libya, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. The Hawaii judge also blocked a 120-day ban on refugees entering the United States.

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The 9th Circuit largely upheld the Hawaii injunction on Monday.

In the second case, the Richmond, Virginia-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, on May 25 upheld the Maryland judge’s ruling.

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The lawsuits by Hawaii and the Maryland challengers argued that the executive order violated federal immigration law and a section of the Constitution’s First Amendment, which prohibits the government from favoring or disfavoring any particular religion. The Supreme Court is weighing emergency applications in both cases, but is likely to act on them together.

Trump’s first order on Jan. 27 led to chaos and protests at airports and in various cities before being blocked by the courts. The second order was intended to overcome the legal issues posed by the original ban, but was blocked by judges before it could go into effect on March 16.

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; additional reporting by Steve Holland; editing by Grant McCool)

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Instagram to block all content promoting LGBT ‘conversion therapy’

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Instagram said on Friday it would block content that promotes so-called conversion therapy, which aims to alter a person's sexual orientation or gender identity, as pressure to ban the practice grows.

The social media giant announced earlier this year it would no longer allow adverts for conversion therapy services, which can range from counseling and "praying away the gay" to electric shocks and sexual violence.

"We don't allow attacks against people based on sexual orientation or gender identity," Tara Hopkins, Instagram's public policy director for Europe, Middle East and Africa said in an emailed statement.

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Trump campaign headquarters in Virginia shut down for COVID-19 after staffers pressured against wearing face masks

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President Donald Trump's campaign office, located in northern Virginia just outside of Washington, was forced to shut down after a COVID-19 outbreak.

Politico reported Friday that for a week cleaners were brought into the headquarters to scrub surfaces, disinfect equipment and try and stave off the coronavirus from hitting the campaign more than it already has.

While in Tulsa, Oklahoma, eight members of Trump's advance team contracted the coronavirus, including Secret Service agents. While in Arizona the following week, more of Trump's Secret Service got the virus. To make matters worse, when Trump headed to South Dakota for a Fourth of July celebration, his son's girlfriend, who also works on the campaign, contracted the virus.

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Ghislaine Maxwell seeks release on $5 million bail

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Ghislaine Maxwell's lawyers asked a New York court Friday to release her on bail of $5 million, insisting she will stay in America to fight sex abuse charges related to Jeffrey Epstein.

The British socialite has been charged with sex trafficking minors for Epstein, her former boyfriend and convicted sex offender who killed himself in prison last summer while awaiting trial.

In documents filed with the Southern District of New York, her attorneys said the daughter of late newspaper baron Robert Maxwell "vigorously" denies the charges and "intends to fight them."

They argued that "she is not a flight risk" and asked Judge Alison Nathan to release her from custody on $5 million bail, signed by six of her associates and secured by a $3.75 million property in Britain.

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