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.

Travel Ban: Update on Hawaii Judge’s Exemption Ruling

Following the Hawaiian Judge’s ruling of July 13, 2017 (2017 WL 2989048), the Supreme Court on July 19, 2017 (2017 WL 3045234), has denied a request to clarify its order of June 26, 2017. It noted, however, that it would not disturb the decision of the district court holding that grandparents could not be excluded from the definition of “close family relationship”. The court nevertheless stayed the district court’s order concerning refugee resettlement agencies.

Voting: ACLU v. Trump and the Commission on Electoral Integrity

The American Civil Liberties Union sued President Trump, the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity and Vice President Michael Pence (who is Chair of the Commission) on July 10th, 2017 in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. The Plaintiffs seek two forms of relief: 1) the Plaintiffs ask the court to “compel the Defendants to abide by the Federal Advisory Committee Act” (FACA) and 2) the Plaintiffs ask the court to declare that the Defendants violated FACA.

Travel Ban: Hawaii v. Trump, Exemptions

A Federal Judge in Hawaii ruled on Thursday July 13th, 2017 that three categories of individuals are now exempt from the revised travel ban (Executive Order 13780): grandparents; refugees who have a “formal assurance from an agency within the United States that the agency will provide…. placement services;” and refugees in the Refugee Admissions Program through the Lautenberg Program.

Travel Ban: Hawaii v. Trump (Supreme Court update)

On June 26, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a per curiam opinion, granted certiorari in Trump v. State of Hawaii and Trump v. International Refugee Assistance Project, 2017 WL 2722580 (2017) ordering a consolidated oral argument “during the first session of October Term 2017” (id. At *5). The October term commences on October 2. The Court also partially lifted the restrictions of the preliminary injunction on Executive Order 13780. Under this decision, the travel ban is in effect against “foreign nationals who lack any bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.” Id. At *5-7.

Travel Ban: Hawaii v. Trump, 2017

On June 12, 2017, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in a unanimous decision, affirmed the Preliminary Injunction order that had been entered by the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawai’i (Hawaii v. Trump, 2017 WL 1011673 (D. Haw. Mar. 15, 2017)) against the second “Muslim travel ban” Executive Order (E.O. 13780). The Court stated that “immigration, even for the President, is not a one-person show.

Emoluments: An Update

Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 of the Constitution of the United States, now commonly referred to as the “Foreign Emoluments Clause,” is the subject of three federal lawsuits which challenge President Trump’s alleged receipt of financial benefits from foreign governments and their representatives. The clause states that “no person holding any office of profit or trust under them, shall, without the consent of Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title of any kind whatever, from any king, prince or foreign state.” In a nutshell, Congressional approval is required when a federal officeholder is offered something of value. There is little controversy that the clause applies to the president.