We Filed Legal Briefs in the Two "Muslim Ban" EO Cases

May 8, 2017

From the moment the President signed his first executive order banning travel and immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries, we’ve worked to uphold civil liberties in the face of pretextual national security policies.

In the last couple of weeks, we’ve worked with two national law firms, Covington & Burling and Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, to file legal briefs in the two "Muslim ban" executive orders cases currently being litigated in the U.S. Courts of Appeals -- IRAP v. Trump (4th Circuit) and Hawaii v. Trump (9th Circuit). The oral arguments in these cases are scheduled for today and May 15th respectively.

Our briefs focus on two different, but related legal and policy issues. The first brief argues that the ban does not live up to its stated purpose of enhancing national security and is pretext for religious discrimination. To make this argument, our brief describes several ways in which the ban does not increase U.S. national security. It also argues that the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment applies in full force in the immigration and national security context.

The second brief focuses on the civil liberties impact that the ban has had on the American Muslim community. It describes the stigmatization the ban creates and it’s chilling effect on travel and speech -- both fundamental constitutional rights.

So far the federal courts have been a strong check on unfettered executive action. We hope the courts continue to serve this vital constitutional role so that federal policies on national security, civil liberties, and religious freedom are more equitable for all Americans.

In service,

Omar Noureldin

Vice President
Strategy & Operations

P.S. In response to our advocacy, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly opened an investigation into the implementation of the executive order within the DHS Office of Inspector General and directed the Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties to initiate its own investigation once the OIG investigation concludes. Read his letter here.




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