Supreme Court travel ban case could test Trump's reach

Should the panel of judges in that case decide for the government, signifying disagreement between circuits, it is more likely that the Supreme Court would be willing to hear the case quickly to settle the lower courts' diverging opinions.

The Trump administration says it plans to appeal to the Supreme Court.

If the Supreme Court does intervene, the case would mark a major, highly unusual test of presidential power less than a year into the new administration.

"Today the majority of judges for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit saw through the hollow national security claims of this administration and struck a blow to those who seek to criminalize and demonize individuals on the basis of religion, ethnicity, and national origin". Examining all of the now-familiar evidence-Trump's anti-Muslim statements, his proposal for a literal Muslim ban, "his subsequent explanation that he would effectuate this ban by targeting "territories" instead of Muslims directly"-Gregory declared that "the government's national security goal was proffered in bad faith".

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If they were to refuse to block the Fourth Circuit decision, that would not necessarily doom the chances for review on the executive order's validity, but it could make winning that appeal considerably more hard.

Ilya Somin, a law professor at George Mason University, said if the Supreme Court follows a partisan divide, the Trump administration may fare better since five of the nine are Republican nominees.

Trump issued his initial travel ban by executive order in January, but that measure - which banned entry to nationals from seven countries for 90 days and suspended the nation's refugee program for 120 days - was quickly halted by the courts.

One key issue may be whether statements from candidate Trump should carry any weight.

"I don't think it's good law or good precedent which again is why I think if it ever gets to the Supreme Court for a final decision, they will say the same thing".

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the court's ruling blocks Trump's "efforts to strengthen this country's national security". "The president is not required to admit people from countries that sponsor or shelter terrorism, until he determines that they can be properly vetted and do not pose a security risk to the United States".

Yet it may not be possible for the justices to separate the issue from Trump himself, said Richard Primus, a University of MI law professor. The Order was a valid exercise of the President's authority "to suspend the entry of "any aliens" or "any class of aliens" and to prescribe "reasonable rules, regulations, and orders" regarding entry, so long as the President finds that the aliens" admission would be "detrimental to the interests of the United States'".

"If a different president had issued this order, would it be unconstitutional?"

Parties generally have 90 days to appeal to the Supreme Court, but if the administration waits until late August to ask the court to step in, the justices probably would not vote on whether to hear the case until October and arguments probably wouldn't take place until February 2018 at the earliest. That's because Kennedy, closer to the ideological center of the court than any of his colleagues, often casts the decisive vote when the court is otherwise split between conservatives and liberals.

Kennedy sided with the other conservative justices in favor of the Obama administration and against USA citizen Fauzia Din.

In Thursday's ruling, 4th Circuit Chief Judge Roger Gregory wrote that the plaintiffs had shown there was "ample evidence" of bad faith, which gave the green light to probe whether there were reasons for the order other than the administration's stated national security rationale. Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese said the court's decision sends a message to the president: the Constitutional rights matter.

  • Jack Mann