Supreme Court to hear arguments on travel ban

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The justices are hearing arguments Wednesday over President Donald Trump's ban on travelers from several mostly muslim countries.

September 24: Trump issues his third version of the ban following what the administration says was a deep dive into global vetting procedures.

Both Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy - who often casts a swing vote - asked skeptical questions of those challenging the ban.

The challengers have argued the policy was motivated by Trump's enmity toward Muslims, pressing that point in lower courts with some success by citing statements he made as a candidate and as president. The last time the court did that was the gay marriage arguments in 2015.

January 28: Chaos reigns at USA airports as Department of Homeland Security agents block travelers from entering the country, leading to protests and legal action. The ban, he said, also violated the Constitution.

Siblani said many Muslim-Americans are a little uneasy.

The policy bars or limits entry by people from Iran, Syria, Somalia, Libya and Yemen.

Prepared in secret, the sudden order created chaos as hundreds of travelers were blocked at airports. The latest version of the order also forbid entry for people from North Korea and Venezuela.

The Supreme Court on December 4 signaled it may lean toward backing Trump when it granted on a 7-2 vote his administration's request to let the ban go into full effect while legal challenges played out.

The result is an nearly complete cutoff of travelers from the named countries.

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"If you accept their idea that the President has such a sweeping power", he warned the Justices, "he could end, for example, the family preference system and impose and end to so-called chain migration".

Liberal justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor pressed Francisco on what kind of campaign trail behavior could be considered by courts.

"Where does the president get the authority to do more than what the Congress has set?" she asked.

March 16: Federal District Judge Theodore Chuang in Maryland blocks part of the travel ban that applies to travelers from six predominantly Muslim nations.

"The exclusion of aliens is a political act", he said.

"What if military advisors tell the president that, in their judgement, [he] ought to order an airstrike against Syria", he said.

Francisco argued that Trump's attacks on Muslims during 2016 were statements of "a private citizen", and not Trump as leader or policymaker.

Apparently signaling where he stood, Alito noted that the policy was hardly a blanket ban on Muslims, affecting just some eight percent of the world's Muslim population.

The justices will consider the president's third version of the policy. Other plaintiffs include individuals who argue they have been prevented from reuniting with relatives who have applied for visas from one of the affected countries.

The court is expected to review the case over the next two months before ruling in late June.

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