Administration says 90-day ban is needed to ‘prevent infiltration by foreign terrorists’
Protesters march outside the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., on May 8. Photo: Steve Helber/Associated Press
WASHINGTON—The Trump administration late Thursday asked the Supreme Court to revive its plan to temporarily ban travelers from six largely Muslim countries from entering the U.S., a major legal test for one of the president’s most controversial initiatives.
“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,” the Justice Department said in a petition. The administration said the plan—which would put a 90-day halt on the entry of individuals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen—is needed as a means to “prevent infiltration by foreign terrorists.”
Last week, the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals by a 10-3 vote blocked the plan, in a sharply worded opinion concluding that while couched in “vague words of national security,” President Donald Trump’s ban “in context drips with religious intolerance, animus and discrimination.” Most of the judges who considered the case were appointed by Democratic presidents. Three of the court’s more conservative judges, all Republican appointees, dissented.
A federal district judge in Hawaii also blocked the ban, and last month the Ninth Circuit, sitting in Seattle, heard the administration’s appeal. In Thursday night’s filings, the Justice Department asked the Supreme Court to stay the Hawaii court order as well while its appeal proceeds.
An earlier, more sweeping version of the ban was blocked by several federal courts this year. The administration hoped the revised plan issued in March would pass muster by omitting some of the more aggressive elements of the original executive order, such as potentially applying it to aliens with legal U.S. residency.