Trump travel ban back in U.S. courts next
week as battles stretch on
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[May 06, 2017]
By Mica Rosenberg and Dan Levine
NEW YORK/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Legal
challenges to President Donald Trump's temporary travel ban on people
from some Muslim-majority countries heat up again next week when two
U.S. appeals courts consider whether it is constitutional.
The legal fights may end up at the U.S. Supreme Court perhaps in the
fall, many months after Trump first issued an executive order in January
saying there was an urgent need to halt some immigration to the United
States for 90 days while officials reviewed the visa process.
Trump dropped the original travel order after unfavorable legal rulings
and replaced it with a more limited ban which is itself now being
challenged in appeals courts on two coasts.
Arguing that the United States needed to tighten national security
measures, Trump's attempt to limit travel was one of his first major
acts in office. The fate of the ban is one indication of whether the
Republican can carry out his promises to be tough on immigration and
Omar Jadwat, an attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union, who will
be arguing the case at the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Virginia
on Monday, said the fact that so much time has passed since the ban was
issued is proof that there was no pressing national security need for it
in the first place.
The court fight will give those challenging the order an opportunity to
argue that the government never intended for the travel pause to be
temporary, said Buzz Frahn, an attorney at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett in
Palo Alto, California whose firm has been closely tracking the ongoing
Now almost 100 days after the original travel ban, the government says
the period of 90 days was reset when the administration issued the new
order in March.
The Department of Homeland Security "is, and will be, continuously
examining ways to enhance the screening and vetting process to shut down
terrorist and criminal pathways into the United States," agency
spokesman David Lapan said. "Some improvements will be classified,
others will be public, but the Department has only just begun ways to
enhance the security of our immigration system," he said in an email.
Opponents - including states and civil rights groups - say that both the
first ban and the revised ban, which also put a halt to all refugee
admissions to the country for four months, discriminates against
The government argues the text of the order does not mention any
specific religion and is needed to protect the country against attacks.
[to top of second column]
President Donald Trump
gives a thumbs up during a National Day of Prayer event at the Rose
Garden of the White House in Washington D.C., U.S., May 4, 2017.
The 4th Circuit will decide the fate of a ruling from a Maryland
district judge that struck down a section of the revised executive
order barring visitors from Syria, Iran, Libya, Sudan, Yemen and
The hearing will take place before 14 full-time judges of the
appellate court. Ten of them were appointed by Democrats, and four
Then, on March 15, a three-judge panel at the San Francisco-based
9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will review a decision from a
Hawaii judge that halted not just the travel portion of the ban but
also the section that barred refugees. The judges – who will sit on
a panel in Seattle - have been assigned but their identities have
not been made public.
The 9th Circuit blocked Trump's first ban in February, in a
unanimous vote by one Republican-appointed judge and two-Democratic
appointees. Trump lashed out at the ruling on Twitter and said he is
ready for a fight at the Supreme Court.
The nation's highest court is more likely to hear a case if the
federal appeals courts reach opposite rulings or if the issue is of
great national importance, according to legal experts.
But the Supreme Court's session ends in June, and if it take the
case it would probably not be heard until after the justices return
(Additional reporting by Lawrence Hurley and Julia Edwards Ainsley
in Washington; Editing by Noeleen Walder and Alistair Bell)
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