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  1. #1
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    Aug 2005

    Supreme Court's last argument is over Trump travel ban

    Supreme Court's last argument is over Trump travel ban

    By MARK SHERMAN | Associated Press
    52 mins ago

    WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court is saving one of its biggest cases for last. The justices are hearing arguments Wednesday over President Donald Trump's ban on travelers from several mostly Muslim countries.

    It's the last case the justices will hear until October.

    The Trump administration is asking the court to reverse lower court rulings striking down the ban. The policy has been fully in effect since December, but this is the first time the justices are considering whether it violates immigration law or the Constitution.

    The court will consider whether the president can indefinitely keep people out of the country based on nationality. It will also look at whether the policy is aimed at excluding Muslims from the United States.

    People have been waiting in line for a seat for days. In another sign of heightened public interest, the court is taking the rare step of making an audio recording of the proceedings available just hours after the arguments end. The last time was the gay marriage arguments in 2015.

    The travel ban is the first Trump policy to undergo a full-blown Supreme Court review. The justices are looking at the third version of a policy that Trump first rolled out a week after taking office, triggering chaos and protests across the U.S. as travelers were stopped from boarding international flights and detained at airports for hours. The first version was blocked by courts and withdrawn. Its replacement was allowed to take partial effect, but expired in September.

    The current version is indefinite and now applies to travelers from five countries with overwhelmingly Muslim populations — Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. It also affects two non-Muslim countries: blocking travelers from North Korea and some Venezuelan government officials and their families. A sixth majority Muslim country, Chad, was removed from the list this month after improving "its identity-management and information sharing practices," Trump said in a proclamation.

    Trump's campaign pledge to shut down Muslim entry into the U.S., his presidential tweets about the travel ban and last fall's retweets of inflammatory videos that stoked anti-Islam sentiment all could feature in the justices' questioning of Solicitor General Noel Francisco, defending the ban, and Neal Katyal, the former acting solicitor general under President Barack Obama. Katyal is representing the challengers.

    The administration has argued that courts have no role to play because the president has broad powers over immigration and national security, and foreigners have no right to enter the country. Francisco also has said in written arguments that Trump's September proclamation laying out the current policy comports with immigration law and does not violate the Constitution because it does not single out Muslims.

    The challengers, backed by a diverse array of supporting legal briefs, have said that Trump is flouting immigration law by trying to keep more than 150 million people, the vast majority of them Muslim, from entering the country. They also argue that it amounts to the Muslim ban that Trump called for as a candidate, violating the Constitution's prohibition against religious bias.

    A decision in Trump v. Hawaii, 17-965, is expected by late June.
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  2. #2
    Moderator Beezer's Avatar
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  3. #3
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    May 2006

    Trump's travel ban sees support from Supreme Court's conservative majority

    4 hrs ago
    By Bill Mears

    he Trump administration enjoyed a favorable reception Wednesday from the Supreme Court's conservative majority in the first significant legal test of this president's policies and power, as the justices reviewed the high-stakes challenge to the so-called travel ban.

    At issue is whether the third and latest version of President Trump's travel restrictions, affecting visitors from five majority Muslim nations, discriminate on the basis of nationality and religion, in the government's issuance of immigrant visas.

    Protesters gathered outside the court to condemn the restrictions. But inside the courtroom, the last scheduled oral argument of the term appeared divided along the usual conservative-liberal lines.

    Despite some speculation over Trump appointee Neil Gorsuch – given a recent ruling in which he sided with liberal colleagues on an immigration case – the conservative jurist seemed to offer indirect support Wednesday as he called into question a federal judge’s prior attempt to suspend the travel ban nationwide.

    Justice Samuel Alito also noted that of the 50 or so mostly Muslim majority countries, only five were on the current banned list, or about 8 percent of the population, he said.

    "That does not look at all like a Muslim ban," he said, referring to the label the policy’s critics have given it.

    Justice Elena Kagan, meanwhile, questioned whether the executive had free rein to assert his authority over foreign policy and immigration matters and, if so, was it "game over" for any subsequent meaningful judicial review.

    Justice Sonia Sotomayor also sought assurances from the Justice Department's solicitor general that the waiver policies for those seeking a visa from five mostly Muslim countries were more than just "window dressing.”

    The case could, once again, come down to Justice Anthony Kennedy. But his line of questioning could be seen as positive for the administration.

    At one point, he wondered whether then-candidate Trump's campaign call for a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims" entering the U.S. (rhetoric being used against him in this case) was important to the current appeal.

    "Is anything said in a campaign irrelevant?" he asked.

    But Kennedy also suggested the president has "continuing discretion" to decide how long countries can remain on the banned list of entry, meaning the policies could be open-ended.

    Given the high public interest, the court modified its usual policy and released audio of the session within an hour after its conclusion.

    A decision expected in June could represent a precedent-setting ruling on the limits of executive power, especially within the immigration context.

    The justices have allowed the current restrictions -- known as travel ban 3.0 -- to be enforced at the Justice Department's request, at least until the case is fully litigated.

    Sixteen state leaders led by Texas are among a number of coalitions backing the Trump administration. But Hawaii officials, who filed the appeal contesting all of the president's orders, say the president's policies continue to violate the Constitution's guarantee of religious freedom:

    "Any reasonable observer who heard the President's campaign promises, read his thinly justified orders banning overwhelmingly Muslim populations, and observed his Administration's persistent statements linking the two, would view the order and each of its precursors as the fulfillment of the President's promise to prohibit Muslim immigration to the United States."

    A number of civil rights, immigrant and Muslim advocates filed separate briefs opposing the government's policies. These challengers to the 3.0 order argue Trump has taken his enumerated powers to extremes by banning entire populations from multiple countries, an estimated 150 million people.

    Federal appeals courts in Virginia and California in recent months had ruled against the administration. The San Francisco-based 9th Circuit court last December concluded Trump's proclamation, like the two previous executive orders, overstepped his powers to regulate the entry of aliens.

    It "fails to provide a rationale explaining why permitting entry of nationals from the six designated countries under current protocols would be detrimental to the interests of the United States," wrote the appeals judges.

    The White House, on the other hand, has framed the issue as a temporary move involving national security. A coalition of groups in opposition call the order blatant religious discrimination, since the five current countries involved have mostly Muslim populations: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. Chad was recently removed from the list after the administration said that country had beefed up its information-sharing.

    The current case is Trump v. Hawaii (17-965).
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  4. #4
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    May 2006

    Trump’s tweets front and center as Supreme Court heats travel ban

    By Stephen Dinan - The Washington Times - Updated: 2:10 p.m. on Wednesday, April 25, 2018

    President Trump’s opponents warned the Supreme Court on Wednesday that if they uphold his travel ban as legal it would blow a giant hole in the law, opening the door to presidents unilaterally stopping chain migration or making other major changes Congress never intended.

    The justices also found themselves squarely confronted with the question of whether Mr. Trump’s campaign tweets can be used against him while he’s president, with Neal Katyal, a former Obama administration lawyer leading the case for the Trump opponents saying if only the president would apologize he could have cleaned up much of the mess he’s in.

    “We wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for all the statements,” Mr. Katyal said.

    But Solicitor General Noel Francisco, arguing for Mr. Trump, said previous presidents issued smaller but similar proclamations halting entry from countries such as Iran and Cuba.

    He said the president was acting within the powers Congress gave him to suspend entry for people who he deems a danger, and to read anti-Muslim reasoning into Mr. Trump’s decision-making is unfair.

    “This is not a so-called Muslim ban,” Mr. Francisco said. “If it were, it would be the most ineffective Muslim ban.”

    Justices appeared to divide along usual lines, with the more conservative-leaning ones sympathetic to Mr. Trump and the more liberal ones more skeptical in their questioning. But there were some prominent exceptions, with Justice Elena Kagan, an Obama appointee, and Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, a Reagan appointee, looking to test the expanse and limits of presidential powers.

    Justice Kagan drew laughter at one point when she offered a hypothetical of “an out-of-the box kind of president,” and the audience chortled when Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. pondered the hypothetical of what a president was to do when he found himself confronted with a Congress that couldn’t get things done.

    The case stems from Mr. Trump’s efforts to impose a ban on travelers from places he deems a threat.

    But legal scholars said the import of the ruling goes well beyond the travel ban.

    If the justices rule that Mr. Trump’s campaign statements and later tweets can be used against his policy decisions, then much of his agenda could be crippled because of the plethora of nasty things he’s said since mounting his run for office.

    But if the justices instead decide that Mr. Trump, like other presidents before him, is due some deference, particularly on national security or other immigration questions, then it could be a major boost for the president’s sweeping immigration plans.

    As it is, activists have challenged nearly every part of Mr. Trump’s immigration framework, including his plans to crack down on sanctuary cities that thwart cooperation with deportations; the phaseout of the Obama-era DACA program, the president’s plans for a border wall and the administration’s multiple decisions to crack down on those in the country under Temporary Protected Status.

    Those cases are pending in various lower courts, with the DACA ruling the most likely to reach the high court next.

    The travel ban was the final case the justices have on their argument calendar for the 2017-2018 term. For the next two months they’ll meet to release opinions, but won’t hear any new cases in person.

    Decisions are expected to be released by the end of June, when the term closes.

    The administration is cognizant of how much of Mr. Trump’s claims of power will depend on the justices’ ruling.

    “The Constitution and acts of Congress confer on the president broad discretion and authority to protect the United States from all foreign and domestic threats,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions, in a statement just ahead of the arguments. “After multiple agency heads conducted a comprehensive, worldwide review of foreign governments’ information-sharing practices and other risk factors, President Trump determined this travel order is critical to protecting the American people.”

    Wednesday’s case involved the third version of the travel ban.

    The original, issued a week after Mr. Trump took office in January 2017, banned nearly all immigration or visits from citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries previously singled out by President Obama and Congress

    After the courts blocked that version, Mr. Trump issued an updated policy applying to six countries — Iraq was dropped from the original list — and more narrowly tailoring those citizens who would be denied entry. The Supreme Court last June allowed some of that second ban to go into place.

    Meanwhile, the government at Mr. Trump’s orders did a worldwide study of other countries and came up with a third travel ban policy that changed the list, dropping some of the Muslim-majority countries and adding non-Muslim nations such as North Korea and Venezuela to the ban list.

    Lower courts again stepped in, ruling he was still overstepping how bounds. One court said he never gave a good enough justification for the ban, while another court said his campaign statements and subsequent tweets disparaging Muslims meant his actions were the result of animus toward Islam, making the travel ban unconstitutional.

    The Supreme Court had allowed the travel ban to take effect, however, even as the courts heard full arguments on the case.
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