travel ban

Jewish groups criticize Supreme Court decision to allow parts of Trump’s travel ban

The Jewish resettlement agency HIAS and the Anti-Defamation League decried the US Supreme Court’s decision to allow parts of President Donald Trump’s travel ban to be enforced.

On Monday, the court said it would hear the appeals of two cases that had resulted from the travel ban, which aimed to keep the citizens from six predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States for 90 days and all refugees for 120 days.

The high court agreed to stay parts of rulings that had blocked the ban from being enforced. The partial stay means that foreigners with no US ties could be prohibited from entering the country, but those with ties such as through business or personal relationship would remain unaffected, The New York Times reported. Those who had been to the country previously also could enter.

HIAS — formerly known as the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society — is among the plaintiffs suing Trump in one of the cases the Supreme Court agreed to take on. It called the announcement “mixed news” in a statement, praising it for limiting some of the executive order’s reach but criticizing the court for partially allowing the executive order to be enforced.

“HIAS welcomes the ruling as an affirmation that the president does not have unfettered unchecked authority to bar refugees from the United States without evidence to justify such action,” said the group’s CEO and president, Mark Hetfield. “We also welcome the ruling as confirmation that there are limits to the president’s ability to bar non-citizens from the United States based on unsubstantiated presumptions relating only to their nation of birth.”

Hetfield criticized the fact that those without such ties could now be barred from entering the United States.

“We are very disappointed, however, that others will be arbitrarily excluded,” Hetfield said. “Certainly in the case of refugees, this order will have a tragic toll on those who have fled for their lives and played by our rules to find refuge in the United States.”

HIAS was founded in the 1880s as a resource for newly arrived Jewish immigrants.

The Anti-Defamation League, along with its criticism, also praised the court for limiting the scope of the order.

“We were pleased that the court appropriately recognized that there are limitations on the president’s authority when it comes to immigration generally,” its national director and CEO, Jonathan Greenblatt, said in a statement. “But the court’s failure to recognize the plight of the world’s most endangered refugees – those fleeing countries where their lives are in imminent danger – is profoundly disappointing,”

Bend the Arc: Jewish Action sharply criticized the stay that would allow parts of the ban to be enforced, calling it “a deeply harmful decision.”

“At a minimum, because of the court’s decision today, we will be betraying a fundamental American and Jewish value by turning away countless individuals who are seeking a better life in our nation, some of them fleeing life-threatening violence,” the group’s CEO, Stosh Cotler, said in a statement.


On the Supreme Court’s Last Day, Waiting for Trump Travel Ban Ruling


WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court heads into Monday, its last day of the current term, with two important questions so far unanswered: What’s to become of President Donald Trump’s travel ban and will 80-year-old Justice Anthony Kennedy retire?

The court will also announce the remaining decisions of the term, including the fate of laws in 39 states that bar direct taxpayer aid to churches and the ability of the parents of a 15-year-old boy to sue the federal border agent who killed him.

The Justice Department has urged the justices to lift bans imposed by lower courts blocking enforcement of the president’s executive order on travel. It called for a 90-day ban on issuing visas to citizens of Iran, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia and Yemen who want to come to the US.

The administration argued that the measure had a legitimate national security purpose, allowing the government to assess the reliability of background information on visa applicants from six countries associated with terrorism.

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Richmond, Virginia, said the executive order amounted to unconstitutional religious discrimination. Its ruling cited campaign statements by Trump, who originally called for a ban on Muslim immigration.

Separately, a panel of three judges from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals said the order violated federal immigration laws that require a more substantial national security justification than the White House offered.

The Supreme Court is expected to announce whether it will take up the appeal of those lower court orders and, in the meantime, allow the government to enforce the executive order while the appeal is pending.

Speculation about a possible retirement by Kennedy also has been swirling for months, partly fueled by rumors. Sen. Charles Grassley, the Judiciary Committee chairman, said in April that he “would expect a resignation this summer,” but added that he had no definitive information.

Image: Trump listens as Justice Kennedy speaks before swearing in Judge Neil Gorsuch
President Donald Trump listens as Justice Anthony Kennedy speaks before swearing in Judge Neil Gorsuch as an Associate Supreme Court Justice at the White House on April 10, 2017. Joshua Roberts / Reuters file

Kennedy will turn 81 in another month. A Ronald Reagan appointee, he has served on the Supreme Court for 29 years. Some friends say he has suggested that he might retire. But he has given no outward sign that he might, and he has hired his normal complement of law clerks for the coming term.

A Kennedy retirement would give Trump the ability to profoundly reshape the court. In many divisive cases, the court lineup tends to be four conservatives and four liberals, with Kennedy casting the fifth and deciding vote.

With Kennedy joining the conservatives, the court gutted the Voting Rights Act, reduced federal regulation of money in political campaigns, and declared that the Second Amendment provides an individual right to gun ownership.

Kennedy’s votes with the liberals produced rulings striking down state laws against same-sex marriage, upholding abortion rights, and limiting the use of the death penalty.

“A Kennedy retirement would be an epic change,” said Tom Goldstein, a Washington, D.C., lawyer and publisher of SCOTUSblog. “Kennedy is a conservative but has moderate tendencies. A replacement chosen by President Trump would give conservatives the solid majority on the court they’ve been hoping for since the Nixon administration.”

Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who is 84, and Stephen Breyer, 78, have shown no signs that they intend to step down.

Also Monday, the court will likely announce whether it will take or reject several appeals that have been piling up for months, including the right to carry a gun outside the home and whether businesses can refuse to provide their services for same-sex marriage ceremonies

Trump Loses Travel Ban Ruling in Appeals Court

WASHINGTON — A second federal appeals court has ruled against President Trump’s revised travel ban, delivering on Monday the latest in a string of defeats for the administration’s efforts to limit travel from several predominantly Muslim countries.

The administration has already sought a Supreme Court review of a similar decision issued last month by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, in Richmond, Va. Monday’s decision came from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco.

The two courts employed different reasoning to arrive at the same basic conclusion. The Fourth Circuit said the revised executive order violated the First Amendment’s prohibition of government establishment of religion.

The Ninth Circuit, by contrast, rested its conclusions on statutory grounds. It said Mr. Trump had exceeded the authority Congress granted him in making national security judgments in the realm of immigration without adequate justification.

“The order does not offer a sufficient justification to suspend the entry of more than 180 million people on the basis of nationality,” the Ninth Circuit’s opinion said. “National security is not a ‘talismanic incantation’ that, once invoked, can support any and all exercise of executive power.”

The decision, from a three-judge panel, was unanimous. It was issued jointly by Judges Michael Daly Hawkins, Ronald M. Gould and Richard A. Paez. All three were appointed by President Bill Clinton.

The ruling affirmed most of a March decision from Judge Derrick K. Watson, of the Federal District Court in Hawaii. But the appeals court narrowed the injunction issued by Judge Watson in a significant way.

The appeals court said Judge Watson had erred in barring the administration from conducting internal reviews of its vetting procedures while the case moved forward.

That may turn out to be important as the Supreme Court considers how to address the two cases.

The key part of the executive order suspended travel from six predominantly Muslim countries for 90 days to give the administration time to conduct a review of its vetting procedures. If that review can soon be completed, the justices may decide that the case will soon be moot.

In briefs filed Monday in the Supreme Court, lawyers challenging the revised executive order urged the court not to hear the Trump administration’s appeal of the Fourth Circuit’s decision or to stay the injunctions entered in the two cases.

They said the cases might be moot as soon as Wednesday, as the 90-day suspension of entry contemplated by the revised executive order was, counting from its effective date, set to expire then.

The administration has argued that Judge Watson’s ruling stopped the 90-day clock. It asked the justices to agree to hear an appeal of the Fourth Circuit decision before they leave for their summer break and to schedule arguments in the fall.

By lifting the part of Judge Watson’s injunction that barred review of internal vetting procedures in the meantime, the Ninth Circuit may have ensured that the case will be moot by the time it is argued, no matter how the 90 days are calculated.

“It would be unnecessary and wasteful for the court to grant review of an issue that is essentially moot,” lawyers for the State of Hawaii wrote.

Like the Fourth Circuit, Judge Watson blocked major parts of the revised order on the ground that they violated the Constitution’s ban on a government establishment of religion. Judge Watson wrote that the statements of Mr. Trump and his advisers made clear that his executive order amounted to an attempt to disfavor Muslims.

Judge Watson should not have reached the constitutional issue and should have ruled on statutory grounds, the Ninth Circuit said.

“We need not, and do not, reach the Establishment Clause claim to resolve this appeal,” the appeals court’s opinion said.

Judge Watson’s injunction was broader than the one affirmed by the Fourth Circuit. In addition to halting the limits on travel from the six countries, Judge Watson blocked a 120-day suspension of the nation’s refugee program and a 50,000-person cap on refugee admissions in 2017, down from 110,000. The Ninth Circuit affirmed those parts of Judge Watson’s decision.

The Ninth Circuit said it had a role to play in testing Mr. Trump’s actions.

“Whatever deference we accord to the president’s immigration and national security policy judgments does not preclude us from reviewing the policy at all,” the appeals court’s opinion said. “We do not abdicate the judicial role, and we affirm our obligation ‘to say what the law is’ in this case,” it added, quoting Marbury v. Madison, the foundational 1803 Supreme Court decision.

A federal law gives the president the power to exclude foreigners if he finds that letting them enter the country “would be detrimental to the interests of the United States.”

The appeals court said Mr. Trump had exceeded that authority, in large part because he had failed to offer adequate justifications for his order.

“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 court said, “the president did not meet the essential precondition to exercising his delegated authority: 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.’”

The court said Mr. Trump’s justifications for the executive order were inadequate.

“The order does not tie these nationals in any way to terrorist organizations within the six designated countries,” the opinion said. “It does not identify these nationals as contributors to active conflict or as those responsible for insecure country conditions. It does not provide any link between an individual’s nationality and their propensity to commit terrorism or their inherent dangerousness.”

“In short,” the opinion concluded, “the order does not 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.”

The appeals court also ruled that the administration had run afoul of another provision of the immigration laws, one that forbids discrimination “because of the person’s race, sex, nationality, place of birth or place of residence,” but only “in the issuance of an immigrant visa.” The Trump administration argued that the power to bar entry, the subject of a different provision, was broader than the limits on issuing visas.

The appeals court said the two provisions must be read together.

“We cannot blind ourselves to the fact that, for nationals of the six designated countries,” the opinion said, the revised order “is effectively a ban on the issuance of immigrant visas.”

Trump’s latest tweets will probably hurt effort to restore travel ban


President Trump on Monday derided the revised travel ban as a “watered down” version of the first and criticized his own Justice Department’s handling of the case — potentially hurting the administration’s defense of the ban as the legal battle over it reaches a critical new stage.

Trump in a tweet called the new ban “politically correct,” ignoring the fact that he himself signed the executive order replacing the first ban with a revised version that targeted six, rather than seven, Muslim-majority countries and that blocked the issuance of new visas rather than revoking current ones.

Trump said the Justice Department should seek a “much tougher version” and made clear — despite his press secretary’s past remarks to the contrary — that the executive order is a “ban,” not a pause on some sources of immigration or an enhanced vetting system.

“People, the lawyers and the courts can call it whatever they want, but I am calling it what we need and what it is, a TRAVEL BAN!” Trump wrote.

The president’s tweets could significantly damage his administration’s effort to restore the ban, which has been put on hold by two federal courts.


Next week, those suing are expected to file arguments on the matter with the Supreme Court, and Trump’s latest remarks will surely be part of their briefs. The administration appealed to the nation’s highest court after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit upheld the freeze on the ban last month.

Neal Katyal, the lawyer who argued for the challengers in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, wrote on Twitter, “Its kinda odd to have the defendant in HawaiivTrump acting as our co-counsel. We don’t need the help but will take it!” He also wrote that he was “waiting now for the inevitable cover-my-tweet posts from him that the Solicitor General will no doubt insist upon.”

Even George Conway, a prominent lawyer who recently took himself out of the running to lead the Justice Department’s Civil Division and who is the husband of top Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway, posted on Twitter that the remarks might hurt the legal case.

“These tweets may make some ppl feel better, but they certainly won’t help OSG get 5 votes in SCOTUS, which is what actually matters. Sad,” he wrote, using abbreviations for Office of Solicitor General and the Supreme Court.


A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment. White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the president was “not at all” concerned that his tweets might muddy the legal case, and his attention was instead on the substance of his executive order. She said she was not aware of any vetting of his tweets by lawyers or aides.

How Trump’s travel ban broke from the normal executive order process

“The president is very focused on exactly what that order spells out, and that’s protecting Americans, protecting national security, and he has every constitutional authority to do that through that executive order and he maintains that, and that position hasn’t changed in the slightest,” Sanders said.

Trump himself indicated late in the day that he had no intention of backing down from his early morning sentiments, tweeting, “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!”

Federal judges across the country have focused acutely on Trump’s own comments in ordering that the ban be frozen, determining that the president’s words expose the measure as being a tool for discrimination disguised as a national security directive.

The majority opinion in the 4th Circuit maintaining the freeze on the ban quoted extensively from Trump’s tweets and media interviews, and from those of his advisers. On the campaign trail, Trump called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”

Omar C. Jadwat, the American Civil Liberties Union lawyer who argued the case in the 4th Circuit, wrote that Trump’s tweets amounted to “a promise: let me do this and I’ll take it as license to do even worse.” In an interview, Jadwat said the president’s tweets “seem to undermine the picture the government’s been trying to paint.”

“I can’t say for sure what our brief is going to look like, but this stuff seems relevant,” Jadwat said.

Government lawyers have sought to convince judges that they should not consider the president’s statements but instead limit their analysis to the text of the ban. They have also sought to portray the president’s words as campaign trail rhetoric, and noted that many of the remarks in question — though not all — came before Trump was elected.

“We shouldn’t start down the road of psychoanalyzing what people meant on the campaign trail,” acting solicitor general Jeffrey B. Wall told judges at a recent court hearing in the 9th Circuit.

Trump’s latest tweets — which were later set to dramatic music and posted in a video on his Facebook page— will provide those challenging the ban more examples of post-election remarks and a stronger case that Trump’s revised travel ban had the same purpose as the original version.

That version, which unilaterally revoked the visas of tens of thousands of people from seven Muslim-majority countries, was seen as much harder to defend because it was more onerous and had a provision in the text that seemed designed to exempt Christian travelers.

Trump tweeted Monday that the Justice Department “should have stayed with the original Travel Ban, not the watered down, politically correct version they submitted” to the Supreme Court. In addition to creating possible headaches in court, that misstates the process. Trump signed the executive order imposing the ban. The Justice Department defends his policies in court.

Trump also wrote that the Justice Department “should ask for an expedited hearing of the watered down Travel Ban before the Supreme Court — & seek much tougher version!” The Supreme Court would not be the body to enact a ban; the justices will be weighing whether Trump’s order is constitutional.

The travel ban seems to have been on Trump’s mind since the terrorist attack in London on Saturday, when Trump wrote on Twitter, “We need to be smart, vigilant and tough. We need the courts to give us back our rights. We need the Travel Ban as an extra level of safety!”

Legal analysts were quick to point out that the president was hurting his own case.

“In case it’s not obvious, these will only undermine the government’s case before #SCOTUS for both a stay & on the merits of the #TravelBan,” University of Texas law professor Stephen Vladeck posted on Twitter. “These will also go a long way toward mooting debate over use of campaign statements; no need when, as President, he still says these things.”

Trump also wrote on Twitter that the administration was already “EXTREME VETTING” travelers coming into the United States — which he said was necessary to keep the country safe because courts are “slow and political!” The Department of Homeland Security has previously suggested such vetting was taking place, but that, too, seems to undercut the Justice Department’s legal position.

The travel ban was supposed to be a temporary measure, designed to afford the administration time to conduct a review and decide what new vetting procedures were necessary. When a federal judge in Hawaii ordered the ban frozen, though, the government interpreted his order as stopping even that review — and the judge declined to clarify that it did not.

Wall told the 4th Circuit last month that the administration had “put our pens down” and had “done nothing to review the vetting procedures for these countries.”

If the administration already has implemented new vetting procedures, that would seem to call into question the necessity of a temporary ban. Legal analysts, though, have previously said that president’s remarks indicate he might not view the measure as temporary — despite what the text of the executive order says.

SCOTUS sets June 12 deadline for travel ban challengers’ responses


Washington (CNN)Parties who are challenging President Donald Trump’s travel ban have until June 12 to respond to a petition from the Justice Department asking the Supreme Court to allow the ban to go into effect, the court said Friday.

The Court set a deadline of June 12, which comes about two weeks before its term is scheduled to end.
Once the Supreme Court has heard from the challengers, it will decide whether it should allow the revised controversial executive order — that blocks entry from six Muslim-majority countries — to go into effect while the justices decide whether they should take up the government’s appeal.
To succeed, the Trump administration will need the votes of five justices. According to rules that govern the Supreme Court, the justices would take into consideration whether there is a “reasonable probability” that four of the justices would eventually agree to hear the case and a “fair prospect” that a majority of the court will hold that the lower court opinions were erroneous.
They’d also consider if “irreparable harm” would result from the denial of the request to lift the injunction.
There are two separate challenges before the court. One is brought by the International Refugee Assistance Project and other plaintiffs, who won a global injunction in March that was later upheld by a majority of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. The injunction applies to Section 2 (c) of the order that suspends entry of foreign nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
The federal appeals court ruled that the ban “speaks with vague words of national security, but in context drips with religious intolerance, animus and discrimination.”
The other case was brought by the attorney general of Hawaii and other individuals who claimed the ban exceeds the President’s statutory authority and violates the Constitution. The plaintiffs are challenging not only Section 2 of the order — the restriction on travel — but another section of the order pertaining to refugees. On March 15, Judge Derrick K. Watson of the US District Court for the District of Hawaii issued an injunction blocking both sections. Watson, relying upon statements that the Trump made as a candidate for the presidency, held that the “stated secular purpose of the Executive Order is at the very least secondary to a religious objective of temporarily suspending the entry of Muslims” in violation of the Constitution.
The case is currently before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. A three-judge panel heard arguments on May 15 and has yet to rule.
In asking the Supreme Court to allow the ban to go into effect, government lawyers accused the lower courts of undermining “the President’s constitutional and statutory power to protect national security.”

Appeals Court Will Not Reinstate Trump’s Revised Travel Ban

WASHINGTON — Describing President Trump’s revised travel ban as intolerant and discriminatory, a federal appeals court on Thursday rejected government efforts to limit travel to the United States from six predominantly Muslim nations. Attorney General Jeff Sessions quickly vowed to appeal to the Supreme Court.

The decision was the first from a federal appeals court on the revised travel ban, which was an effort to make good on a campaign centerpiece of the president’s national security agenda. It echoed earlier skepticism by lower federal courts about the legal underpinnings for Mr. Trump’s executive order, which sought to halt travelers for up to 90 days while the government imposed stricter vetting processes.

The revised order, issued on March 6, “speaks with vague words of national security, but in context drips with religious intolerance, animus and discrimination,” the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, in Richmond, Va., concluded in its 205-page ruling.

The White House derided the court decision as a danger to the nation’s security. And Mr. Sessions, in pledging to appeal to the nation’s highest court, said the government “will continue to vigorously defend the power and duty of the executive branch to protect the people of this country from danger.”

At almost every turn since Mr. Trump ordered the travel ban — first in January, when it was halted by judicial objections, and again in March — federal courts have blocked it. Initially, the order suspended entry for travelers from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days, and banned refugees from Syria.

The revised order sought to soften the original ban, which was almost immediately blocked after foreign travelers found themselves stranded at chaotic airports and protesters nationwide called the policy un-American. The second order allowed case-by-case exceptions for incoming travelers and lifted the ban against Iraqi visitors. It also deleted explicit references to religion.

But both orders suspended the nation’s refugee program for 120 days and reduced the annual number of refugees to 50,000 from 120,000. And in Thursday’s ruling, Chief Judge Roger L. Gregory said Mr. Trump’s statements on the campaign trail — where he called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” — showed that the revised order remained the product of religious hostility.

Such discrimination, Judge Gregory wrote for the majority, violates the First Amendment’s ban on government establishment of religion. The Trump administration had urged the appeals court to ignore the statements as loose language made before the president assumed office. But Judge Gregory said the court could take account of the comments.

“Then-candidate Trump’s campaign statements reveal that on numerous occasions, he expressed anti-Muslim sentiment, as well as his intent, if elected, to ban Muslims from the United States,” Judge Gregory wrote.

The appeals court vote was 10 to 3 and divided along ideological lines, with the three Republican appointees in dissent. Two other judges, both appointed by Republican presidents, recused themselves.

In dissent, Judge Paul V. Niemeyer said that the majority had made a grave error in considering Mr. Trump’s political comments to interpret his executive orders, calling campaign statements ambiguous by nature and “often shorthand for larger ideas; they are explained, modified, retracted and amplified as they are repeated and as new circumstances and arguments arise.”

Judge Niemeyer also predicted that the majority’s reliance on campaign statements would meet a hostile reception in the Supreme Court.

“The Supreme Court surely will shudder at the majority’s adoption of this new rule that has no limits or bounds — one that transforms the majority’s criticisms of a candidate’s various campaign statements into a constitutional violation,” he wrote. And Judge Dennis W. Shedd, also in dissent, wrote that those welcoming Thursday’s decision had missed the larger point.

“Today’s decision may be celebrated by some as a victory for individual civil rights and justice, and by others as a political defeat for this president,” Judge Shedd wrote. “Yet, it is shortsighted to ignore the larger ramifications of this decision.

“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,” Judge Shedd wrote.

Omar Jadwat, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union who argued the appeal on behalf of people and groups challenging the revised order, said the court’s decision vindicated fundamental rights.

“President Trump’s Muslim ban violates the Constitution, as this decision strongly reaffirms,” he said. “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.”

Thursday’s decision came from the full Fourth Circuit, which did not follow its usual practices in considering the appeal. Ordinarily, a three-judge panel would have heard the case and decided it, with the possibility of full-court review afterward.

In his dissent, Judge Niemeyer wrote that the law did not permit judges to second-guess a president’s national security judgments.

But Judge Gregory wrote that courts had a role to play.

“Although the Supreme Court has certainly encouraged deference in our review of immigration matters that implicate national security interests,” he wrote, “it has not countenanced judicial abdication, especially where constitutional rights, values and principles are at stake.”

It was more than plausible, he added, that the revised order’s “stated national security interest was provided in bad faith, as a pretext for its religious purpose.”

“The government has repeatedly asked this court to ignore evidence, circumscribe our own review, and blindly defer to executive action, all in the name of the Constitution’s separation of powers,” Judge Gregory wrote.

“We decline to do so, not only because it is the particular province of the judicial branch to say what the law is, but also because we would do a disservice to our constitutional structure were we to let its mere invocation silence the call for meaningful judicial review.”

In March, federal judges in Maryland and Hawaii blocked parts of the new executive order, saying they could not ignore the remarks from Mr. Trump and his allies. “Simply because a decision maker made the statements during a campaign does not wipe them” from judicial memory, Judge Theodore D. Chuang of Federal District Court in Maryland wrote in the decision under review by the appeals court.

A second appeals court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, heard arguments recently in an appeal of the Hawaii decision. That court is expected to rule shortly.

Mr. Trump issued his initial order on Jan. 27, a week into his presidency. Less than two weeks later, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed an order halting it.

Though Mr. Trump vowed to fight the ruling, he did not appeal to the Supreme Court. Instead, he issued a revised executive order. This time around, the administration will appeal, setting the stage for a major constitutional showdown.

Hawaiian Lawyer That Helped Block Trump’s Travel Ban Said It Violates the First Amendment Because “Honor Killings Are Islamic”

The lawyer representing the state of Hawaii and the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Court today actually asked for president Trump to remove honor killings from his executive order in order for it to “pass constitutional muster.”

In his arguments, Neal Katyal railed against the collection of such data outlined by Executive Order 13780 contravenes the establishment clause, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…”.


So what exactly is Katyal defending you ask? Honor killings! Which is murder committed by Muslims in order to restore the families dignity!
“What does [the President] have to do to issue an executive order that, in your view, might pass constitutional muster?” asked Judge Paez of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, this afternoon.


Katyal responded at length, stating: “I think there’s two paths that the President could take in order to pass constitutional muster.


“One is the way that our founders thought, Article 1 Section 8 which, as Congress in the driver’s seat with respect to immigration, passes a statute. as Justice Alito said, when Congress passes a statute it’s much less likely to discriminate. It is 535 people versus one, which is why his Mandel point is so problematic. That’s number one.


“Second thing the president could do, or the kinds of things or some of the kinds, removing some of things that the district court found led an objective observer to say that this this discriminates.


“One example would be, what Judge Hawkins said, disavowing formally all the stuff said before. But that’s not it. He could do a lot of things. For example, I’m going to throw out some examples. I‘m not trying to micro manage the President. He could say, like President Bush did, right after September 11th, the face of terror is not the true faith of Islam. that’s not what Islam is about. Islam is peace. Instead, we get, quote, Islam hates us. I think Islam hates us.


“I think he could point to changed circumstances from December 2015, when Congress debated the exact same evidence that the President relies on in his executive order and say, you know, we actually need more than just denying people entry without a visa, which is what Congress required. You need to do more than that.


“It could eliminate the text, which refers to honor killings. There’s a bunch of different things that could be done. And our fundamental point to you is that presidents don’t run into Establishment Clause problems and the reason for that is this is a very limited, you know, in a really unusual case in which you have these public statements by the President. if you affirm the district court there’s not a thing that any president has done in our lifetime that would be unconstitutional”.


So here we have a lawyer defending the state of Hawaii, who honestly believes that since honor killings are in Islamic tradition that they should be allowed.
Let that sink in a little bit.
A travel ban has been stopped by a judge in Hawaii because we now have a lawyer that is actually defending the murder of American citizens if the family feels as if they have lost some dignity due to the actions of that individual.
Welcome to liberals America, folks. Where they put your lives at risk simply so they can stop president Trump from stopping a so-called Islamic tradition of murdering family members who feel offended that a family member did something un-Islamic .


Again, let that sink in a bit.


Executive Order 13780 mentions honor killings only once, in the section (11) entitled “Transparency and Data Collection”, where it states:

  • To be more transparent with the American people and to implement more effectively policies and practices that serve the national interest, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Attorney General, shall, consistent with applicable law and national security, collect and make publicly available the following information…
  • …(iii) information regarding the number and types of acts of gender-based violence against women, including so-called ‘‘honor killings,’’ in the United States by foreign nationals…


Source: Breitbart /

Trump administration insists travel ban not anti-Muslim

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Did Donald Trump’s contested travel ban deliberately single out Muslims? The US administration fiercely denied it during an appeals court hearing Monday — despite the president’s campaign call for a blanket Muslim ban.

The hearing came as Trump seeks to bounce back from a series of stinging judicial defeats over his controversial effort to bar travelers from half a dozen mainly Muslim countries.

The question of intention is key since the US Constitution forbids religious discrimination. Trump’s detractors say it is beyond doubt that Muslims were the ban’s intended target, but the administration says it is motivated strictly by national security concerns, an area where US presidents have wide powers.

Trump “never intended for that to discriminate on the basis of any particular religion,” Jeffrey Wall, the US acting solicitor general, told judges of the Fourth US Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond during an intensely argued afternoon hearing.

“He made clear he was not talking about Muslims all over the world,” said Wall. “That’s why it’s not a Muslim ban.”

But a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union, Omar Jadwat, whose side is supported by several Democratic-led states, argued that Trump the candidate made clear he wanted to ban all Muslims for a time while studying enhanced immigration vetting.

A lower judge’s ruling dealt Trump a blow by freezing his second attempt to close US borders to citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days.

Given the public importance of the case, the full appeals court in Richmond heard the arguments — bypassing the usual initial three-judge panel — for the first time in a quarter-century.

Thirteen of the court’s 15 active judges took part. Two recused themselves over potential conflicts of interest, including the conservative J. Harvie Wilkinson, Wall’s father-in-law.

The court, once considered the most conservative appeals court in the country, now has nine judges named by Democratic presidents including Barack Obama, according to Carl Tobias of the University of Richmond School of Law.

Outcome unclear

The judges aggressively questioned both Wall and Jadwat, making it unclear which way they might be leaning.

They pressed Wall over whether Trump had acted in “bad faith,” disguising an order targeting Muslims as one intended to prevent terrorism.

They said Trump’s comment, while signing his second order, that “you know what I mean” by the order was a “wink and a nod” to let supporters know he was really aiming at Muslims.

Judge Barbara Keenan suggested that Trump’s country-based order was bound to be sweeping and indiscriminate. “You’re talking about 82 million people aren’t you? It seems to me there has to be some linkage to show that there is a detrimental interest to the United States posed by 82 million people.”

The judges also pressed Jadwat over whether an identical order issued by a president who had not made remarks against Muslims might be acceptable — and whether a president should not be granted some deference on security matters.

First attempt blocked

The federal court judge in Maryland issued a nationwide block on the ban’s core provision concerning travel from the short list of countries, saying the order raised the prospect of religious bias against Muslims.

That decision came just after a broader one issued in Hawaii that halted both the travel ban and a 120-day suspension of the US refugee admissions program.

The White House is fighting that ruling in the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals, based in San Francisco.

The scope of Trump’s revamped ban, signed in early March, was reduced from his original January effort, which blocked travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries, including Iraq, as well as all refugees.

The first decree — which prompted mass protests and sowed chaos at US airports — was blocked on grounds it violated the ban on religious discrimination, a ruling upheld on appeal.

The modified version removed Iraq from the ban, but ran into the same objections.

Although the travel rule does not explicitly mention Muslims, the Maryland judge, Theodore Chuang, accepted arguments that Trump’s history of anti-Muslim rhetoric presented “a convincing case” that it amounted to “the realization of the long-envisioned Muslim ban.”

Trump has vowed to fight the latest “flawed” ruling all the way to the Supreme Court. The Justice Department has the backing in Richmond of around a dozen Republican-led states.

A ruling is expected to take anywhere from one to six months.

Jeff Sessions Marvels At How A Judge ‘On An Island In The Pacific’ Could Stall Travel Ban


Attorney General Jeff Sessions expressed skepticism that a federal judge who serves in Hawaii had the power to block President Donald Trump’s retooled travel ban, which has been stuck in the courts since last month.


“I really am amazed that a judge sitting on an island in the Pacific can issue an order that stops the president of the United States from what appears to be clearly his statutory and constitutional power,” Sessions told “The Mark Levin Show,” a conservative talk show, earlier this week, according to a report by CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski.

U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson, a Hawaii native, issued an order March 15 that put a stop to important aspects of Trump’s second travel ban. That order, which applies nationwide, is being challenged by Sessions’ Department of Justice before the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, based in San Francisco. A Virginia-based court is considering a separate Justice Department appeal to a Maryland ruling against the travel ban

The night Watson issued his ruling, Trump complained to a booing audience in Tennessee that the judge’s ruling was “flawed” and that it “makes us look weak.” Watson has reportedly been the subject of threats for ruling against the president’s executive order, which would limit travel to the U.S. from six Muslim-majority countries and halt refugee resettlement programs.

The two senators from Hawaii, both Democrats, reacted strongly to Sessions’ comment. Sen. Mazie Hirono likened his remarks about Watson to “dog whistle politics.”

Mr. Attorney General: You voted for that judge. And that island is called Oahu. It’s my home. Have some respect. 

Hey Jeff Sessions, this has been the 50th state for going on 58 years. And we won’t succumb to your dog whistle politics

In a statement later Thursday, Hirono, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee that vets and confirms federal judges, called Sessions’ suggestion that Watson is somehow unable to carry out his duties impartially “dangerous, ignorant, and prejudiced.”

“I am frankly dumbfounded that our nation’s top lawyer would attack our independent judiciary,” she said. “But we shouldn’t be surprised. This is just the latest in the Trump Administration’s attacks against the very tenets of our Constitution and democracy.”

Hawaii’s attorney general, Doug Chin, whose state led the charge against the second travel ban in federal court, blasted Sessions over his apparent disregard for the separation of powers.


“Our federal courts, established under article III of the Constitution, are co-equal partners with Congress and the President,” Chin said in a statement late Thursday. “It is disappointing AG Sessions does not acknowledge that.”


A Justice Department spokesman tried to mitigate Sessions’ comments.

“Hawaii is, in fact, an island in the Pacific — a beautiful one where the Attorney General’s granddaughter was born,” Ian D. Prior said in an email to The Huffington Post on Thursday. “The point, however, is that there is a problem when a flawed opinion by a single judge can block the President’s lawful exercise of authority to keep the entire country safe.”


Trump’s swipes against the federal judiciary since taking office have alarmed court watchers and the public. Even Justice Neil Gorsuch faced a tough round of grilling in confirmation hearings last month from senators asking about the president’s outbursts. The then-nominee declined to call Trump out by name, saying that he couldn’t get into politics.


Trump and his surrogates’ openly anti-Muslim sentiments have haunted his executive orders in the courts. In his ruling, Watson found that the second travel ban — which was crafted to correct deep flaws courts found with the first one — was likely unconstitutional because it was implemented with the intent to target members of a particular religion.


In the Levin interview, Sessions said that judges shouldn’t “psychoanalyze” Trump’s motives and instead look at the national security rationale behind it.

Ryan J. Reilly contributed reporting.

This story has been updated to include Chin’s statement.

Hawaii asks full court to hear Trump travel ban appeal

HONOLULU — Attorneys representing Hawaii in the state’s challenge to US President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban for citizens of six Muslim-majority countries are asking that the full panel of a federal appeals court hear the case.

The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear the case May 15.

Hawaii’s request filed Tuesday notes that the full 15-judge panel of another federal appeals court will hear a similar case challenging the travel ban.

Appeals are typically heard first by a three-judge panel before they are possibly examined by the full panel.

Hawaii argues the case involves a “question of exceptional importance.”

The Trump administration is appealing a Hawaii federal judge’s ruling blocking the government from suspending new visas for people from six Muslim-majority countries and halting the US refugee program.