Travel Ban III: Supreme Court Reviews Travel Ban

On April 25, 2018 the Supreme Court of the United States heard oral arguments for the landmark case State Of Hawai’i And Ishmael Elshikh vs. Donald J. Trump, et al in which the State of Hawaii sued the federal government to stop the implementation of Executive Order No. 13,780. The executive order, which is titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.”, is President Trump’s third attempt at a travel ban and it restricts the entry of foreign nationals from 6 specified Muslim countries and two non-Muslim majority nations  (Libya, Iran, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, North Korea, Venezuela and Chad). Chad was later removed from the Travel Ban on April 11, 2018. It also suspends entrants from the United States refugee program for specified periods of time.

Travel Ban III: Update

On Friday, December 22, 2017, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Seattle affirmed in part and vacated in part the preliminary injunction order of the district court regarding the Trump Administration’s third travel ban attempt. This follows the U.S. Supreme Court’s order for a stay pending the resolution of the Ninth Circuit and Fourth Circuit appeals.

In their opinion, the judges concluded that the executive order conflicts with the Immigrant and Nationality Act’s “prohibition on nationality-based discrimination in the issuance of immigrant visas,” and that the “President’s issuance of the proclamation once again exceeds the scope of his delegated authority.”

Travel Ban III

On Sunday September 24, 2017, President Trump amended the existing travel ban of March 6, 2017 (Executive Order 13780) by proclamation (titled “Presidential Proclamation Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry Into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats”). This version of the travel ban attempts to address many of the issues that the courts had identified in the previous versions. Specifically, this third ban is different in that it (1) sets forth specific reasons for disallowing entry of nationals of certain countries, (2) applies different levels of scrutiny and suspension on entry to different countries, (3) provides mechanisms for countries to be added or removed from the list, (4) is indefinite in duration, (5) adds North Korea, Venezuela, and Chad while removing Sudan, and (6) provides detailed information on persons who are not covered by it, including classes of persons identified by the Supreme Court.

This travel ban version may moot the legal challenge to E.O. 13780. The Supreme Court has already cancelled the scheduled October oral argument and asked the parties to submit briefs by October 5, 2017, addressing “whether or to what extent the proclamation may render the case moot.” The Supreme Court also asked for briefings on the suspension of the nation’s refugee program, which is not addressed in the proclamation and is scheduled to expire in October, as to whether that issue would soon be moot.

Travel Ban: Ninth Circuit Update

On September 7, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit decided that grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins of American residents in the affected countries can enter the USA. State v. Trump, 2017 WL 3911055 (9th Cir. Sept. 7, 2017). This decision follows the US Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Hawai’i v. Trump which on June 26, 2017, partially reinstated the “travel ban” executive order.

Analysis: Groups Sue Trump re. Transgender Military Service

On August 9, 2017, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) and two law firms filed a federal lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia challenging President Trump’s directive issued by tweet on July 26, 2017 to reinstate a ban on transgender people serving in the military. The suit is brought in the names of five presently anonymous service members who serve openly as transgender people (“Jane Does 1-5”) against, among others, Donald Trump, James Mattis, the U.S. Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, and the federal government.

The lawsuit requests declaratory and injunctive relief, that is, a pronouncement from the court adjudging that the directive issued by Donald Trump via tweet that transgender persons cannot serve in the military as unconstitutional and illegal, and prohibiting the government from removing currently serving transgender members of the military who have relied in good faith on the government’s previous policy.