Supreme Court Hears Trump's Travel-Ban Case

Supreme Court Hears Trump's Travel-Ban Case

The government's top lawyer for Supreme Court cases, Solicitor General Noel J. Francisco, contended that Congress has explicitly handed the President sweeping authority to exclude any alien or any class of aliens if he deems that necessary to serve a national interest. The ban's challengers nearly certainly need one of those two justices to strike down the ban on travelers from several mostly Muslim countries. He also wondered if the waiver provision was mere "window-dressing".

Still others, such as Justice Sonia Sotomayor, delved into just what authority Congress gave the president in the Immigration and Nationality Act, and under what circumstances the executive can unilaterally change immigration policy. Eight out of the 9 justices, all except Justice Thomas, asked questions. Justice Clarence Thomas remained silent. Supreme Court oral arguments are often rich in hypotheticals, which force the lawyers to confront the logical consequences of their positions.

The current version is indefinite and now applies to travelers from five countries with overwhelmingly Muslim populations - Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.

These comments are included in the Hawaii brief as "factual background", meant to provide insights into Trump's justification for what would later become his travel ban.

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 global flights and detained at airports for hours.

The court is expected to issue a decision in June.

Wednesday, the court's conservative justices said the order does not appear to mirror the "Muslim ban" Trump talked about during his campaign.

If the president had information that some Syrians had plans to bring chemical weapons into the United States, asked Roberts, could he or she ban all Syrian citizens from entering that day? That 90-day ban on travelers from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, and a 120-day ban on refugees worldwide, was struck down by federal district and appeals courts the following month.

The government's brief to the Supreme Court said that more than 430 applicants had been cleared for waivers between December 8, 2017, and April 1, 2018. Mazie Hirono after Wednesday's Supreme Court hearing on the president's travel ban.

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Hanging in the balance now are almost 150 million residents of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. The administration has since removed Chad from the list, citing its improvement of its vetting programs. North Korea and Venezuela are not part of the legal battle. That elicited what appeared to be praise from Kennedy, who called it "longer than any proclamation that I've seen in this particular area".

Did the president's order amount to a "Muslim ban"?

"Suppose you have a local mayor, and, as a candidate, he makes hateful statements", Kennedy said. In his stroller laid a sign that read: "Travel is for everyone, No Muslim ban!"

Catholic Church leaders have expressed their objection to the travel ban.

The travel ban case is the court's first comprehensive look at a Trump policy - one of considerable importance to the president and highly controversial since it was first rolled out a week after Trump took office.

Despite President Donald Trump's intimations that a ban is urgently needed because America is in danger, Katyal said, "Here we are, four hundred and sixty days" into Trump's Presidency, and "he's never even introduced legislation about this".

"Nobody denies that the president wields extraordinary power over immigration and national security", said Joshua Matz, who sided with the challengers in a brief filed on behalf of constitutional scholars. Opponents of the travel ban have argued that those comments suggest the travel ban is really Trump's Muslim ban in disguise and should be struck down as discriminatory. The Supreme Court is actually analyzing the third version of the original travel ban. "When this first came out, right away it just signaled this is just one step down a very slippery slope to taking away someone's civil rights". The latest order, they said, was infected by the same flaws as the previous ones. "They embraced them", Katyal argued.

Indeed, the whole course of the litigation would've been different if Travel Ban 1.0-the one President Trump signed his first week in office without interagency process or guidance to the line agents who were supposed to implement it, causing chaos at airports-had been skipped and we'd gone straight to the more fully lawyered 2.0. Wednesday was the first time they took it up in open court.

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