‘A VICTORY FOR AMERICA’: SCOTUS rules in favor of Trump in battle over Travel Ban

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled in favor of President Donald Trump over his embattled travel ban.

In a 5-4 ruling, the high court ruled the president had the complete authority to restrict travel entry into the U.S. from certain countries deemed hotbeds for terror.

Opponents of the ban had argued that the revised ban, the third written by the president on the matter, unfairly targeted primarily Muslim populated countries. The

In his written opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts, who authored the majority ruling, wrote that the order was “squarely within the scope of presidential authority” under federal law.

“The sole prerequisite set forth in [federal law] is that the president find that the entry of the covered aliens would be detrimental to the interests of the United States. The president has undoubtedly fulfilled that requirement here,” Roberts wrote.

Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, speaking on behalf of the four liberal justices who dissented, called the ban “discriminatory”.

“This repackaging does little to cleanse [the policy] of the appearance of discrimination that the president’s words have created,” Sotomayor said. “Based on the evidence in the record, a reasonable observer would conclude that the proclamation was motivated by anti-Muslim animus.”

President Trump, elated by the news, called the hardest fought battle thus far in his administration a “victory for America”.

“Today’s Supreme Court ruling is a tremendous victory for the American People and the Constitution,” the president said in a written statement. “The Supreme Court has upheld the clear authority of the President to defend the national security of the United States. In this era of worldwide terrorism and extremist movements bent on harming innocent civilians, we must properly vet those coming into our country.”

“This ruling is also a moment of profound vindication following months of hysterical commentary from the media and Democratic politicians who refuse to do what it takes to secure our border and our country,” the statement continued. “As long as I am President, I will defend the sovereignty, safety, and security of the American People, and fight for an immigration system that serves the national interests of the United States and its citizens. Our country will always be safe, secure, and protected on my watch.”





REPORT: Trump’s travel ban headed for victory at Supreme Court

Washington, D.C. (Bloomberg) — The U.S. Supreme Court appeared poised to uphold President Donald Trump’s travel ban as two key justices used an argument session to aim skeptical questions at a lawyer challenging the policy.

Hearing the last case of its nine-month term Wednesday, the court took its first direct look at a policy that indefinitely bars more than 150 million people from entering the country. Opponents, led at the high court by Hawaii, say Trump overstepped his authority and was motivated by anti-Muslim animus.

Chief Justice John Roberts suggested he doubted that the policy was unconstitutionally tainted by Trump’s campaign call for a Muslim ban at the border. Roberts asked whether those types of comments would prevent a president from taking the advice of his military staff to launch an air strike against Syria.

“Does that mean he can’t because you would regard that as discrimination against a majority-Muslim country?” Roberts asked Hawaii’s lawyer, Neal Katyal.

Another pivotal justice, Anthony Kennedy, suggested he understood Katyal to be asking the court to second-guess the president on whether a national-security emergency warranted border restrictions.

“Your argument is that courts have the duty to review whether or not there is such a national exigency,” Kennedy said with a tone of incredulity. “That’s for the courts to do, not the president?”

The court is considering the third version of a ban that triggered chaos and protests at American airports when Trump signed the first executive order a week after taking office in January 2017. Although two federal appeals courts have ruled against Trump, the Supreme Court let the policy take full effect in December.

The travel policy bars or limits entry by people from Iran, Syria, Somalia, Libya and Yemen. It also blocks people from North Korea and a handful of Venezuelan government officials, though those aspects of the policy aren’t at issue at the high court. Trump removed Chad from the list of restricted countries earlier this month.

The high court’s decision, likely to come in the final days of June, promises to be a major pronouncement on the president’s control over the nation’s borders. It may also serve as a judgment on an unconventional presidency marked by ad-hoc policy decisions and pointed Twitter comments.

Wednesday’s session offered few reasons to expect that judgment to be anything but deferential. The toughest questions for U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco, Trump’s top Supreme Court advocate, came almost entirely from the court’s most liberal members.

One of them, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, said Congress had already enacted a visa waiver process that required heightened vetting in some cases. “Where does the president get the authority to do more than Congress has already decided is adequate?” she asked.

Justice Elena Kagan, another Democratic appointee, raised a hypothetical issue of a president who had made anti-Semitic remarks and whose administration found security reasons to recommend a ban on travel from Israel.

“This is an out-of-the-box kind of president in my hypothetical,” she said, drawing laughter from the courtroom. “We don’t have those, Your Honor,” Francisco quickly shot back before saying that he doubted that any national security reasons could justify a ban on such a close ally.

“The question is, what are reasonable observers to think given this context, in which this hypothetical president is making virulent anti-Semitic comments,” Kagan said.

But Justice Samuel Alito noted that Trump’s policy affects only a small percentage of the world’s Muslims.

“It does not look at all like a Muslim ban,” he said. “There are other justifications that jump out as to why these particular countries were put on the list.”

Katyal said the travel ban “does fall almost exclusively on Muslims.”

Kennedy, the court’s most frequent swing vote, asked questions of both sides. He asked Francisco about a hypothetical mayoral candidate who made “hateful statements” during his campaign and then acted on those comments on the second day of his administration.

“You would say whatever he said in the campaign is irrelevant?” Kennedy asked.

But Kennedy aimed his toughest questions at Katyal, the Hawaii lawyer. The justice suggested the travel ban was more flexible than opponents contended, pointing to a provision in the most recent version that he said requires officials to revisit it every 180 days. “That indicates there’ll be a reassessment and the president has continuing discretion,” Kennedy said.

And the Republican-appointed justice scoffed at Katyal’s argument that the policy lacks any clear end point. “You want the president to say, ‘I’m convinced that in six months we’re going to have a safe world,’” Kennedy said.

Francisco ended his argument by offering a defense of Trump’s motives, though the lawyer stumbled slightly over his words.

“He has made crystal clear that Muslims in this country are great Americans and there are many, many Muslim countries who love this country,” Francisco said. “And he has praised Islam as one of the great countries of the world.”

Underscoring the widespread interest in the case, the court posted an audio recording of the argument on its website Wednesday afternoon. It’s the first time this term the court has released same-day audio.

People began lining up days in advance for one of the roughly 50 seats the court typically sets aside for members of the general public.

The case is Trump v. Hawaii, 17-965.



ALL EYES ON GORSUCH: Trump nominee could play key role in SCOTUS decision on travel ban

Washington, D.C. (Fox News) — All eyes are on Justice Neil Gorsuch as a major constitutional challenge to one of President Trump’s most controversial initiatives — the so-called travel ban — comes before the Supreme Court.

Trump’s own nominee to the court could prove key with oral arguments scheduled for Wednesday.

At issue, in part, is whether the third and latest version of Trump’s travel ban, affecting visitors from six majority Muslim nations, discriminates on the basis of nationality and religion. Given the high public interest, the court is modifying its usual policy and will release audio of the session soon after its conclusion.

The controversy pits an administration that considers the restrictions necessary for Americans’ security against challengers who claim it is illegally aimed at Muslims — and stems from Trump’s campaign call for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims” entering the U.S.

The case will be the first significant legal test so far of the president’s administration and could lead to a precedent-setting ruling on the limits of executive power, especially within the immigration context.

“This is a very difficult issue for the Supreme Court,” said Thomas Dupree, a former top Bush Justice Department official. “In many ways, it’s a political judgment — who is allowed into this country — and historically the court has been very reluctant to tread into areas where it could be viewed as making a political judgment that is properly confined to the executive.”

Read more at Fox News


POTUS v SCOTUS: Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments over Trump travel ban

WASHINGTON, D.C. (The Wall Street Journal) — The Supreme Court on Wednesday will consider whether President Donald Trump can legally restrict entry to the U.S. for travelers from several Muslim-majority countries, tackling a central issue of his presidency.

The case traces back to a defining moment in Mr. Trump’s campaign, when he called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” That idea evolved through three travel bans of varying character and severity, the latest issued in September 2017.

The ban has become more measured in some respects, as the White House has sought to withstand legal scrutiny, though the current travel prohibitions have no expiration date, a contrast from the temporary nature of the earlier bans.

To prevail, the government may have to persuade the justices that the current order is untainted by religious bias, contrary to the findings of some lower courts. The administration also will assert that the ban is needed to help prevent terrorist attacks.

Clarifying the scope of the president’s power over immigration and national-security policy is a momentous task in itself. But in a matter so closely tied to Mr. Trump’s own instincts and style, the case amounts to something of a personal test for the president, as well as a legal one.

While the dispute involves a number of familiar legal questions involving the interpretation of statutes and constitutional provisions, Mr. Trump’s habit of regularly tweeting and otherwise declaring his opinions has added additional dimensions.

“One is the question of when the executive can free itself from the taint of earlier remarks or earlier actions, because if you pretend there were no campaign promises of a Muslim ban and there was no Version 1.0 of a travel ban, the administration’s position looks a lot better,” said Kermit Roosevelt, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania.

The Supreme Court has tread carefully when considering a handful of preliminary matters involving the travel ban and other disputed Trump administration policies, suggesting the justices may be reluctant to pare back Mr. Trump’s authority in ways that could curtail the powers of future presidents.

Read more at The Wall Street Journal



WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump received another blow on Wednesday as the Supreme Court upheld with a Hawaii Court’s ruling that Grandparents and their grandchildren are exempt from being included in his embattled travel ban.

In its ruling the high court declared the Trump administration had failed to clearly define what constitutes “close family relationships” in regard to exceptions to the ban on travelers from six mainly Muslim countries — Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, Syria and Yemen.

However, the court did rule in favor of the Trump administration by staying the portion of the Hawaii Federal district judge Derrick Watson’s ruling that would have expanded exemptions to its 120-day ban on all refugees.

Wednesday’s order is an addendum to the court’s ruling in June that the travel ban could not go into effect for those people with a “bona fide connection” to an individual
or charitable or religious entity already in the United States.

In the meantime approximately 24,000 refugees who already have been assigned to a charity or religious organization in the U.S. will not be able to utilize that connection to enter the country, a fact that has critics of the travel ban in an uproar.

“This ruling jeopardizes the safety of thousands of people across the world including vulnerable families fleeing war and violence,” said Naureen Shah, Amnesty International USA’s senior director of campaigns said in a released statement.

Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin said the high court’s Wednesday order “confirms we were right to say that the Trump administration over-reached in trying to unilaterally keep families apart from each other.”

In their ruling, conservative Justices Samuel A. Alito Jr., Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas stated that they would have blocked Watson’s order in its entirety. The same three justices said last month they would have allowed the Trump travel ban to take full effect.

The Supreme Court is expected to receive oral arguments both for and against the travel ban in early October.



WASHINGTON, D.C. — In yet another blow to the Trump administration the 9th Circuit Court on Monday again ruled against the president’s embattled travel ban.

In a hearing to determine whether or not the president discriminated against people based on their nationality, the court upheld a prior injunction from the 9th Circuit, which blocked enforcement of a Trump executive order that would have temporarily prevented immigrants from terror prone countries from entering the United States.

“We conclude that the President, in issuing the Executive Order, exceeded the scope of the authority delegated to him by Congress,” the opinion (http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2017/06/12/17-15589.pdf), which came from an anonymous three-judge panel, reads. “Immigration, even for the President, is not a one-person show.”

“In suspending the entry of more than 180 million nationals from six countries, suspending the entry of all refugees, and reducing the cap on the admission of refugees from 110,000 to 50,000 for the 2017 fiscal year, the President did not meet the essential precondition to exercising his delegated authority,” the ruling continues. “Here, the President has not done so.”

In its ruling to uphold the previous ruling, the 9th Circuit cited the president’s tweet on The judges cited a tweet by the president on June 5, in response to the terror attack in London.

“That’s right, we need a TRAVEL BAN for certain DANGEROUS countries, not some politically correct term that won’t help us protect our people!” Trump tweeted.

“Indeed, the President recently confirmed his assessment that it is the ‘countries’ that are inherently dangerous, rather than the 180 million individual nationals of those countries who are barred from entry under the President’s ‘travel ban,'” one judge on the panel wrote.

The panel also cited comments by White House press secretary Sean Spicer that the President’s tweets are “considered official statements by the President of the United States.”

“The President must make a sufficient finding that the entry of these classes of people would be “detrimental to the interests of the United States.” Further, the Order runs afoul of other provisions of the INA that prohibit nationality-based discrimination and require the President to follow a specific process when setting the annual cap on the admission of refugees. On these statutory bases, we affirm in large part the district court’s order preliminarily enjoining Sections 2 and 6 of the Executive Order,” the jurists concluded.

President Trump has said a temporary travel ban on individuals seeking to enter the U.S. from terror prone countries is essential to providing the federal government the time it needs to develop enhanced vetting procedures. Critics, however, claim the executive order amounts to an unconstitutional “ban on Muslims”.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Virginia also ruled against the travel ban in an opinion given on May 25. That ruling has been appealed by the Trump administration to the Supreme Court.




WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump’s embattled travel ban has received yet another legal blow.

By a 10-3 margin, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday refused to reinstate the president’s executive order which would have issued a temporary block on immigrants coming to America from six Muslim-majority countries: Iran, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Libya and Sudan.

The executive order was first issued on Jan. 27, a week into Trump’s presidency. Less than two weeks later, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, based in San Francisco, ruled the ban unconstitutional and issued it’s own order to block it.

The president quickly appealed and revised the original order,
omitting Iraq, which had been listed on the original order, removed a complete ban on Syrian refugees and deleted direct references to religion, but the Fourth Circuit ultimately found the amended order unconstitutional as well (https://www.aclu.org/sites/default/files/field_document/irap_-_opinion.pdf).

“We remain unconvinced [the ban] has more to do with national security than it does with effectuating the President’s promised Muslim ban,” the court stated in it’s ruling.

Writing for the majority, Chief Judge Roger Gregory wrote the president’s order, “speaks with vague words of national security, but in context drips with religious intolerance, animus, and discrimination.”

“Congress granted the president broad power to deny entry to aliens, but that power is not absolute. It cannot go unchecked when, as here, the president wields it through an executive edict that stands to cause irreparable harm to individuals across this nation,” the order continued.

However, Judge Paul Niemeyer, one of the three judges voting to overturn the Ninth Circuit court’s ruling, sharply dissented from the decision, warning that failure to allow Trump’s executive order to stand may put Americans in unnecessary danger.

Judge Dennis Shedd, another of the judges who voted to allow the president’s executive order to stand, concurred with Neimeyer’s warning.

“Regrettably, at the end of the day, the real losers in this case are the millions of individual Americans whose security is threatened on a daily basis by those who seek to do us harm,” Shedd wrote in his dissent.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the National Immigration Law Center, who brought the 4th Circuit case against the travel ban, have claimed victory.

“President Trump’s Muslim ban violates the Constitution, as this decision strongly reaffirms,” said Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, of the court’s ruling. “The Constitution’s prohibition on actions disfavoring or condemning any religion is a fundamental protection for all of us, and we can all be glad that the court today rejected the government’s request to set that principle aside.”

When reached for comment, a White House spokesperson said he expects the president to take the matter to the U.S. Supreme Court, if necessary. “One way or another, we’ll get it done,” he said. “We made a promise to the American people and we intend to keep it.”