The Rafu Shimpo: Supreme Court Cancels Hearing on Travel Ban; Rights Groups Oppose New Executive Order

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court has canceled its Oct. 10 hearing in the Muslim ban cases, asking both parties to resubmit short letter briefs to address whether the cases are or will be moot in light of the Sept. 24 presidential proclamation — and because provisions in EO13780 affecting refugees expires on Oct. 24.

The original ban on foreign nationals from six Muslim-majority countries, unless they have a “bona fide” relationship with a person or entity in the U.S., covered Iran, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and Sudan.

An order issued by President Trump on Sunday affects immigrants and non-immigrants from North Korea, Syria, Chad, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, Iran and Venezuela. Sudan has been dropped from the list and North Korea and Venezuela, both non-Muslim countries, have been added.

“We cannot afford to continue the failed policies of the past, which present an unacceptable danger to our country,” Trump said in a statement. “My highest obligation is to ensure the safety and security of the American people, and in issuing this new travel order, I am fulfilling that sacred obligation.”

On Sept. 18, an amicus brief opposing the original travel ban was filed with the Supreme Court by Jay Hirabayashi, Holly Yasui and Karen Korematsu — the children of Gordin Hirabayashi, Minoru Yasui and Fred Korematsu, who challenged the constitutionality of the government’s treatment of Japanese Americans — along with the Korematsu Center for Law and Equality. The brief drew parallels between restrictions placed on Muslim Americans by the current administration and the Japanese American experience during World War II.

Their legal team said it is evaluating its amicus strategy will be impacted by Trump’s latest action.

“We hope the Supreme Court will not let the president’s travel ban escape judicial scrutiny through his own manipulations,” the team said. “What remains unchanged is the urgent need to focus attention on this issue and advance the Call to Action issued by Karen, Holly, and Jay.”

The Japanese American Citizens League issued the following statement on Monday: “The JACL continues to oppose the Muslim country travel ban. The addition of three more nations to the Muslim country ban list does not alter the inherent flaws of the original order seeking to ban individuals based upon the majority religion of their country of origin. In fact, one of the countries added, Chad, is yet one more country with a majority Muslim population; and the other two new restricted countries account for a negligible volume of immigration to the United States. Their addition does not disguise the true nature of the anti-Muslim order.

“As JACL has stated in its amicus brief to the Supreme Court, the foundations for this travel ban are weak at best, just like the case for mass incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II.

“Executive Order No. 13780 (the ‘Travel Ban Order’) — and the flimsy, illogical, and trumped-up national security rationale upon which it rests — is such a repetition. Once again, the government insists that this court must accept its talismanic incantation of ‘national security’ and shirk its core responsibility to take a hard look at arbitrary, discriminatory, and harmful treatment of a disfavored group.

“We call upon the courts to fulfill their role in properly reviewing this executive order and the subsequent order on Sunday for the discriminatory foundations upon which they appear to be based and to address the authority of this administration to create new immigration law outside of congressional action.

“Justice [Robert] Jackson compared the court’s opinion in Korematsu to ‘a loaded weapon ready for the hand of any authority that can bring forward a plausible claim of an urgent need’ Korematsu, 323 U.S. at 246 (Jackson, J., dissenting). Engaging in a meaningful assessment of the basis for executive action is the most effective way to place a trigger-lock on that gun. Rather than repeat the tragic errors of World War II, this court should affirm the decisions of the Fourth and Ninth Circuits.”