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Trump Administration Asks High Court To Revive Travel Ban
Updated June 5, 2017 6:21 AM
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Demonstrators protested Trump's travel ban outside the U.S. Supreme Court in January. (Doug Christian/TMN/'file photo)

(WASHINGTON) - Setting the stage for a U.S. Supreme Court showdown, the Trump administration has asked the high court to revive the president's temporary ban on citizens from six predominantly-Muslim countries.

"The Constitution and Acts of Congress confer on the President broad authority to suspend or restrict the entry of aliens outside the United States when he deems it in the Nation's interest," Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall argued in a Supreme Court brief.

"The stakes are indisputably high: The court of appeals concluded that the president acted in bad faith with religious animus when, after consulting with three members of his cabinet, he placed a brief pause on entry from six countries that present heightened risks of terrorism," the brief said.

Gary Gately, of Talk Media News reports, the move comes after the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond ruled 10-3 along ideological lines last week that the ban discriminated against Muslims in violation of the First Amendment.

The appeals court found Trump's ban, which the administration called necessary to protect America from terrorism, was in fact rooted in discrimination against Muslims. The majority opinion cited Trump campaign pledges to keep Muslims out of the country.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which along with the National Immigration Law Center sued over the travel ban, tweeted: "We've beat this hateful ban and are ready to do it again, @realDonaldTrump."

Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project, said the appeals court ruling should stand.

"There is no reason to disturb the Fourth Circuit's ruling, which was supported by an overwhelming majority of the judges on the full court, is consistent with rulings from other courts across the nation, and enforces a fundamental principle that protects all of us from government condemnation of our religious beliefs," he said.

The 4th Circuit had found Trump's revised executive order contains "vague words of national security" but "drips with religious intolerance, animus and discrimination."

With Justice Neil Gorsuch now on the bench, the Supreme Court has five conservatives and four liberals, but Gorsuch has not indicated how he would rule on the travel ban.

Trump had issued his initial travel ban executive order a week into his presidency, unleashing chaos at airports, mass protests in the U.S. and worldwide, condemnation from a broad spectrum of international leaders -- and unprecedented attacks by the president on the federal judiciary after judges ruled against the ban.

Trump's original executive order banned entry for 90 days to citizens from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. The order also indefinitely barred refugees from Syria.

The revised ban, the White House has said, took into account judges' cited reasons for putting it on hold, and predicted it would pass constitutional muster. The revised order eliminated Iraq, exempted permanent residents and visa holders and removed a preference favoring persecuted religious minorities. The revised order also replaced an indefinite ban on Syrian refugees with a 120-day ban.

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