Published: Sat, June 03, 2017
National | By Rosalie Gross

US Supreme Court sets deadline for travel ban filings

US Supreme Court sets deadline for travel ban filings

The legal fight pits the president's significant authority over immigration against what lower courts have said is a policy that purported to be about national security but was meant to target Muslims. As the case "enjoins a formal national-security determination by the president of the United States" there is also a strong likelihood the court would want to take the case, he added.

In its filing, the government asked the highest court in the land to rule on the legal standing of Trump's order, appealing a ruling by the federal Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals that upheld a nationwide block of the travel ban.

Trumps' initial travel order - issued a week after he took office - threw airports around the world into chaos and prompted an outcry from the technology industry and US universities before it was blocked in court.

Arguing that the temporary ban is urgently needed to protect Americans from terrorist attacks, the government has asked the court to stay quickly the lower court actions.

The conservatives could also duck the Establishment Clause question altogether, finding that the plaintiffs don't even have standing to challenge the ban, or holding that the president's broad authority over national security prevents such a searching inquiry. Meanwhile, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit is still considering an appeal of a Hawaii court's stay of the executive order.

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In a filing, the nine justices were asked to consider the executive order's legality in an appeal of a ruling by the 4th Circuit blocking the ban. It applied to travelers from the six countries as well as Iraq and took effect immediately, causing chaos and panic at airports as the Homeland Security Department scrambled to figure out who the order covered and how it was to be implemented.

The first ban on January 27 signed by Tump on was ruled unconstitutional by a circuit court judge in Seattle and 9th Circuit appeals court in San Francisco.

If the U.S. Supreme Court take it up, the justices would be called upon to decide whether courts should always defer to the president over allowing certain people to enter the country, especially when national security is the stated reason for an action, as in this case.

"Even though it's a heavy lift getting a stay, it seems to me that the Supreme Court is the most favorable court they've had access to so far", said John Elwood, a Washington lawyer. "Taking that oath marks a profound transition from private life to the nation's highest public office, and manifests the singular responsibility and independent authority to protect the welfare of the nation that the Constitution reposes in the president", it reads. The government says the nation will be safer if the policy is put in place. Under its usual practices, it would not hear arguments on the applications and would issue brief orders announcing the outcome with little or no legal reasoning. The Justice Department could have waited for the 9 Circuit's decision to come down, then asked the court to review both the 9 and 4 Circuit's rulings together.

Trump's administration is battling temporary injunctions on the travel restrictions on two separate fronts through cases that originated in Hawaii and Maryland.

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