The Latest: White House says travel ban is working
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):
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders is arguing that the Trump administration’s travel ban “is working” and is needed to continue to safeguard the nation.
Arguments about the ban were heard Wednesday at the Supreme Court. Sanders says if the ban were eliminated, “the United States may be forced to unsuspectingly allow dangerous criminals or terrorists into the country.”
Sanders also argued that the ban only applied to a small number of countries. She says residents of most Muslim-majority countries can travel to and from the United States as they have under previous administrations.
The current version of the ban 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.
An audio recording of arguments at the Supreme Court about the Trump administration’s travel ban is now available.
The Supreme Court made audio of the arguments available Wednesday less than an hour after arguments concluded. The court announced earlier this month that it would make audio of the arguments available on the same day. It’s a rare step and a sign of the heightened public interest in the case. The last time the court did that was for gay marriage arguments in 2015.
The Supreme Court usually makes audio of arguments available on the Friday after a case is argued.
President Donald Trump appears likely to win his travel ban case at the Supreme Court.
Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy both signaled support for the travel policy in arguments Wednesday at the high court. The ban’s challengers almost certainly need one of those two justices to strike down the ban on travelers from several mostly Muslim countries.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor was the most aggressive questioner of Solicitor General Noel Francisco in his defense of the Trump policy, and the three other liberal justices also raised questions about it.
The court previously voted in December to allow the policy to take full effect. But Wednesday was the first time the justices considered the travel ban in open court.
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.