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Trump administration defends travel ban in Supreme Court brief saying Congress gave him the authority to do it

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Protesters chant during a rally against travel ban at San Diego International Airport, on March 6, 2017 (AFP Photo/Sandy Huffaker)

President Donald Trump’s administration reiterated arguments defending its temporary travel ban in a filing with the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday, repeatedly citing the executive’s broad powers to exclude foreigners from the United States.

The travel ban barring refugees and people from six Muslim-majority nations was signed as an executive order in March, after an earlier version had to be scrapped in the face of legal challenges.

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Two federal appeals courts blocked the revised order from taking effect until the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June it could move forward on a limited basis.

The nation’s highest court has agreed to hear oral arguments about the lawfulness of the ban on Oct. 10, and the brief laid out the legal position the government plans to make.

The state of Hawaii and refugee organizations challenging the executive order claim it is discriminatory against Muslims, citing statements Trump made on the campaign trail calling for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”

However, the government, hammering against a broad ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that blocked the ban, said campaign statements made by the president when he was a private citizen should not be taken into account.

The brief said it was a mistake to probe the president’s motives in decisions about national security, which would amount to inappropriate “judicial psychoanalysis” of the president. Trump said the order was necessary to review vetting procedures to help protect the country from terrorist attacks.

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The Department of Justice argued the case would “invite impermissible intrusion on privileged internal Executive Branch deliberations” and that the plaintiffs in the case were calling for “up to 30 depositions of White House staff and Cabinet-level officials.”

The government repeated its stance that Congress has granted the president wide authority to limit refugee admissions and bar the entry of any foreigner or group of foreigners if it would be “detrimental to the interests of the United States.”

The Supreme Court ruled parts of the revised March executive order could go into effect on June 29, finding that anyone from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen with a “bona fide relationship” to a U.S. citizen or entity could not be barred.

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However, the government excluded grandparents and other family members from the definition of who would be allowed in, leading to another round of legal sparring.

Eventually the Supreme Court said that, while litigation continues over enforcement of the ban in lower courts, grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, and siblings-in-law of people from the six countries would be let in but that refugees with relationships with U.S. resettlement agencies would not.

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Attorney Neal Katyal, who is representing Hawaii in its challenge to the ban, said in an email on Thursday: “We look forward to the Supreme Court hearing our case in October.”

(Reporting by Mica Rosenberg; Additional reporting by Andrew Chung; Editing by Paul Tait)


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2020 Election

Early voting to be hit by heavy rain and flooding as Hurricane Zeta barrels towards the Gulf Coast

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Hurricane Zeta is expected to make landfall near Louisiana's border with Mississippi on Wednesday evening as campaigns work to get supporters to the polls and convince any undecided voters to back their candidate.

"Hurricane conditions and life-threatening storm surge are possible along portions of the northern Gulf Coast on Wednesday, and Storm Surge and Hurricane Watches are in effect," the National Hurricane Center warned.

"Between Tuesday night and Thursday, heavy rainfall is expected from portions of the central Gulf Coast into the southern Appalachians and Mid-Atlantic states near and in advance of Zeta. This rainfall will lead to flash, urban, small stream, and minor river flooding," the center explained.

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Brett Kavanaugh caught lying in SCOTUS opinion against voting access during the pandemic: report

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Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh on Monday voted that 2020 elections ballots in Wisconsin can only be counted if received by Election Day.

Kavanaugh issued his own concurring opinion, where he suggested that state courts should be barred from protecting voting rights.

Kavanaugh also made a mistake of fact.

Sam Levine, a voting rights reporter for the Guardian, noted Kavanaugh was inaccurate in his concurring opinion.

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2020 Election

Lincoln Project releases harrowing new video of the future if Trump wins re-election

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The Lincoln Project, the group of former top GOP strategists seeking to beat President Donald Trump in the 2020 election, released another new video on Monday evening.

Unlike other videos, the latest release did not feature Trump saying crazy things. Instead, it is more like a 60-second short film.

It features a mother listening to election night returns. She goes into her son's bedroom and lovingly awakens him.

"Hey honey, you asked me to wake you and tell you what happened in the election," she says.

"Who won?" the child asked.

"Trump," she replied. "Trump won."

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