The Latest: Kennedy presses gov’t during travel ban argument
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on arguments at the Supreme Court over President Donald Trump’s ban on travelers from several mostly Muslim countries. (all times local):
Justice Anthony Kennedy has pressed a lawyer for the Trump administration over whether statements Donald Trump made during the presidential campaign should be considered in evaluating the administration’s ban on travelers from several mostly Muslim countries.
To win, the administration will almost certainly need Kennedy’s vote. Solicitor General Noel Francisco was defending the ban as the high court began hearing arguments in the case Wednesday. He told the justices that they shouldn’t look at Trump’s campaign statements, which included a pledge to shut down Muslim entry into the U.S.
But Kennedy pressed Francisco on that point. Speaking of a hypothetical “local candidate,” he asked if what was said during his campaign was irrelevant if on “day two” of his administration the candidate acted on those statements.
Francisco’s argument was only the first half of an hour-long argument. The ban’s challengers are now facing the justices’ questions.
Opponents of President Donald Trump’s ban on travelers from several mostly Muslim countries are demonstrating outside the Supreme Court ahead of arguments in the case.
Demonstrators that gathered outside of the courthouse Wednesday morning as rain fell held signs that read “No Muslim Ban. Ever.” and “Refugees Welcome” among other things. Demonstrators also displayed large mock-ups of passports from countries affected by the ban.
The current version of the ban is indefinite and now applies to travelers from five countries with overwhelmingly Muslim populations — Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. It also affects two non-Muslim countries: blocking travelers from North Korea and some Venezuelan government officials and their families.
The Supreme Court is saving one of its biggest cases for last. The justices are hearing arguments Wednesday over President Donald Trump’s ban on travelers from several mostly Muslim countries.
It’s the last case the justices will hear until October.
The Trump administration is asking the court to reverse lower court rulings striking down the ban. The policy has been fully in effect since December, but this is the first time the justices are considering whether it violates immigration law or the Constitution.
The court will consider whether the president can indefinitely keep people out of the country based on nationality. It will also look at whether the policy is aimed at excluding Muslims from the United States.
People have been waiting in line for a seat for days.