The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday agreed to decide the legality of President Trump’s latest temporary travel ban targeting six Muslim-majority countries.
The Supreme Court is due to hear arguments in April and issue a ruling by the end of June on whether the policy violates federal immigration law or the U.S. Constitution’s prohibition on religious discrimination. Trump’s policy, announced in September, blocks entry into the United States of most people from Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.
The legal fight involves the third version of a contentious policy Trump first sought to implement a week after taking office in January 2017.
The Supreme Court, which is handling a series of closely watched cases, signaled on Dec. 4 it was likely to uphold the ban when, on a 7-2 vote, it let it go into full effect while legal challenges by the state of Hawaii and others continued. Lower courts had partially blocked the ban.
The president has said the policy is needed to protect the United States from terrorism by Islamic militants.
Those challenging the policy have argued it was motivated by Trump’s enmity toward Muslims, pressing that point in court with some success by citing statements he made as a candidate and as president.
As a candidate, Trump promised “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” As president, he has rescinded protections for hundreds of thousands of immigrants who were brought into the country illegally as children and sought to ramp up deportations.
Immigration arrests have tripled since January 2017 to an average of 142 people a day, though actual deportations are down from the rate under Trump’s Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama.
“We have always known this case would ultimately be decided by the United States Supreme Court. This will be an important day for justice and the rule of law. We look forward to the court hearing the case,” said Hawaii Attorney General Douglas Chin, a Democrat.
A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment.
The ACLU pursued a separate legal challenge in Maryland that is now before the Virginia-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
“The Supreme Court can and should put a definitive end to President Trump’s attempt to undermine the constitutional guarantee of religious equality and the basic principles of our immigration laws, including their prohibition of national origin discrimination,” ACLU lawyer Omar Jadwat said.
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Source: Christian Post