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Texas Leads 16 State Coalition Backing Travel Ban At Supreme Court

Kevin Daley on June 6, 2017

A coalition of 16 states led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a brief at the Supreme Court Tuesday, urging the justices to reinstate key provisions of President Donald Trump’s executive order on refugees and migrants.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) asked the high court to let the president’s order take effect last Friday, after the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court injunction barring enforcement of its travel ban provision. DOJ asked the Court to stay the lower court orders and schedule the case for oral arguments. The Court asked challengers to the travel ban to file a response to the government’s petition by June 12.

“The executive order is a tailored response to a very real threat to our national security,” Paxton said in a statement. “A temporary pause on entry from countries with heightened security concerns is necessary to shore up our nation’s vetting procedures. The president is fulfilling his solemn duty to protect Texans and all Americans.”

The states make three arguments: that the order deserves the strongest presumption of validity under relevant precedent; that the challengers cannot show the actual purpose of the order is to establish a discriminatory policy; and that the lower court injunction impermissibly extends constitutional rights to aliens abroad.

“This injunction is contrary to law, and it denies the federal government — under a statutory regime crafted by the representatives from the States in Congress — the latitude necessary to make national-security, foreign-affairs, and immigration policy judgments inherent in this country’s nature as a sovereign,” the brief reads.

Texas is joined on the amicus (or “friend-of-the-court”) brief by Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant.

Several other states, including Hawaii and Washington have been involved in litigation challenging the order.

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