WASHINGTON, D. C. – Attorney General Karl A. Racine has joined a coalition of 16 attorneys general in a friend-of-the-court brief opposing the Trump administration’s latest attempt to narrow the scope of court-ordered exceptions to his travel ban. The amicus curiae brief opposes the administration’s appeal of a Hawaii district court decision interpreting a Supreme Court ruling from earlier this year.
In the recent ruling, which Trump is appealing, the district court held that the ban on travel to the United States by residents of certain majority-Muslim countries should not prevent grandparents and other close relatives of United States residents from entering the country. The amicus brief was filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
“There’s no question to me that grandparents are close family members—but the Trump administration still wants to exclude them, with potentially devastating impacts on families in the District,” said Attorney General Racine. “I will continue to work to check efforts by the Trump administration to unlawfully broaden who is affected by this ban.”
In June, the Supreme Court held that nationwide injunctions entered against the travel ban by two courts should remain in place with respect to persons having a “bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States,” including persons having a “close familial relationship” to a United States resident. Since then, there has been considerable litigation concerning what kinds of relationships are included within the scope of the injunction. In its recent ruling, the district court interpreted the term “close familial relationship” to include grandparents and other close relatives beyond the nuclear family. The Trump administration appealed that ruling to the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.
“Amici have a strong interest in plaintiffs’ challenge to this Executive Order because many of its provisions have threatened—indeed, have already caused—substantial harm to our residents, communities, hospitals, universities, and businesses while courts continue to adjudicate the Order’s lawfulness,” the attorneys general wrote. “The nationwide preliminary injunction initially entered by the district court in this case, along with the nationwide injunction entered in Trump v. IRAP, substantially mitigated the harm threatened by the Order. And the Supreme Court’s June 26 decision to leave important aspects of those injunctions in place continues to provide critical protection to the state interests endangered by the Order. Accordingly, the amici States have a strong interest in ensuring that the protection provided by the remaining portions of the district court’s injunction is not diminished by an interpretation that is inconsistent with the meaning and purpose of the Supreme Court’s directives.”
In addition to Attorney General Racine and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who spearheaded the drafting efforts, the amicus brief was also signed by attorneys general from California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.