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DOJ Seeks Supreme Court Review in HIAS Travel Ban Challenge

Jun 05, 2017

Blog Post

Rachel Nusbaum, HIAS.org

The current U.S. Supreme Court Justices. Front row from left, U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, and Associate Justice Stephen Breyer, back row from left, Associate Justice Elena Kagan, Associate Justice Samuel Alito Jr., Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch pose for a group portrait in the East Conference Room of the Supreme Court June 1, 2017 in Washington, DC.

(Alex Wong/Getty Images)

On Thursday, the Department of Justice formally asked the Supreme Court to intervene in our lawsuit, International Refugee Assistance Project and HIAS v. Trump.

Their request comes on the heels of a decision by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia last week affirming that our challenge to the ban is likely to succeed.  

The Justice Department asked the court to lift the stay issued by the lower court in our case, as well as the broader injunction issued by a federal court in Hawaii (currently under review by the Ninth Circuit). Lifting the stay would allow the administration to resume enforcing its refugee and Muslim ban until the Supreme Court can itself review and rule on the constitutionality of President Trump’s Executive Order.

As University of Texas Law Professor Steve Vladeck noted on twitter, the timing of the request raises some serious questions for the Supreme Court, which is not obligated to hear this particular case or to grant the requested stay.

For the moment, however, refugee resettlement is continuing and the travel ban remains on hold.

"HIAS is keeping a close eye to see not only how the Supreme Court will respond to the request for a review of IRAP and HIAS v. Trump, but how the Ninth Circuit will rule in the Administration's attempt to revive its refugee ban, which was rightfully derailed by the Federal District Court in Hawaii," said Mark Hetfield, president and CEO of HIAS.

“We will continue using all legal means at our disposal to ensure that this unconstitutional and discriminatory executive order will never go into effect. Enough harm has already been done by this Administration's attempts to stereotype and scapegoat refugees and Muslims," Hetfield said.

To learn more about the legal challenges to this executive order, click here.