Justice Department Turns to High Court to Reinstate Travel Ban


The Trump administration last night filed an appeal to the highest court in the country, asking the nine justices to consider the legality of his executive order which prohibits people from six Muslim-majority countries traveling to the US.

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Trump's executive order "is well within his lawful authority to keep the nation safe".

The Trump administration is challenging that appeals court ruling and hoping that the Supreme Court, now staffed with Trump pick Justice Neil Gorsuch, will grant a stay and allow the ban to go into effect while it hears the administration's challenge. The 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals heard arguments on May 15 on the government's efforts to lift that stay.

The travel ban was blocked in March and stopped the federal government from suspending new visas for people from Somalia, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Libya and Yemen for 90 days.

The Trump administration, on Thursday, appealed that injunction to the Supreme Court.

"Trump's recent speech to Middle East leaders in Saudi Arabia provides more evidence that Trump's policy was not motivated by anti-Muslim prejudice because the president explicitly said the fight against terrorism "'is not a battle between different faiths, '" Wall wrote.

Because the travel ban was only written to apply for 90 days, and is scheduled to expire on June 14, the Supreme Court would have to hear arguments and rule on the case on expedited emergency schedule in order to preserve the order as written.

"It looks increasingly likely that the justices will have to confront the travel ban - and whether to review today's ruling - sometime this fall", Vladeck said. One such application met with success when in February 2016 the court granted on a 5-4 vote a request by states and industry groups to block President Barack Obama's climate regulations.

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Trump's Supreme Court appeal said the policy "is not a so-called 'Muslim ban, ' and campaign comments can not change that basic fact". The Richmond court blocked the immigration ban, while the district court in Hawaii blocked the refugee ban as well.

The request puts a Trump initiative before the Supreme Court for the first time and brings the nine justices into a national drama over claims that the president is targeting Muslims and abusing his authority.

It said that the the government's national security argument was a "secondary justification for an executive order rooted in religious animus and meant to bar Muslims from this country".

The ACLU, one of the challengers to the travel ban, tweeted "We've beat this hateful ban and are ready to do it again, @realDonaldTrump".

Under the schedule suggested by the Trump legal team, the Justices would act quickly on the issue of prompt enforcement, then decide before recessing for the summer the question of whether it will review the legality of the Trump order and, then, if review is granted, take up the cases for hearing early in the next term, which starts in October.

"None of the facts or conditions recited as reasons for the issuance of the Executive Order have been challenged as untrue or illegitimate", wrote Judge Paul V. Niemeyer.

The court has a 5-4 conservative majority, with Justice Anthony Kennedy - a conservative who sometimes sides with the court's four liberals - the frequent swing vote.