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SCOTUS High Drama: Ruling On Travel Ban And Potential Kennedy Retirement

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) will wrap up its 2017 session today and will likely issue a decision on Trump’s controversial travel ban.  As you may recall, Trump’s “travel ban” was designed to impose a 90-day pause in travel from citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.  Decisions are expected to be revealed publicly at 10AM EST.

Of course, the case has ended up in the Supreme Court because two federal appellate courts ruled against the Trump travel policy on the basis of religious and “nationality-based” discrimination. Per CBS:

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, said the ban was “rooted in religious animus” toward Muslims and pointed to Trump’s campaign promise to impose a ban on Muslims entering the country as well as tweets and remarks he has made since becoming president.

The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the travel policy does not comply with federal immigration law, including a prohibition on nationality-based discrimination. That court also put a hold on separate aspects of the policy that would keep all refugees out of the United States for 120 days and cut by more than half, from 110,000 to 50,000, the cap on refugees in the current government spending year that ends Sept. 30.

Trump’s first executive order on travel applied to travelers from the six countries as well as Iraq, and took effect immediately, causing chaos and panic at airports over the last weekend in January as the Homeland Security Department scrambled to figure out who the order covered and how it was to be implemented. A federal judge blocked it eight days later, an order that was upheld by a 9th circuit panel. Rather than pursue an appeal, the administration said it would revise the policy.

In March, Trump issued a narrower order, but it too was promptly blocked.

Of course, back in June, during what became a fairly public dispute with his own Attorney General, Trump blasted the “watered down, politically correct” version of his travel ban that is currently before the Supreme Court.

The Justice Dept. should have stayed with the original Travel Ban, not the watered down, politically correct version they submitted to S.C.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 5, 2017

Meanwhile, today’s session could also draw buzz as rumors have surfaced of late that Justice Kennedy could announce his retirement.  Moreover, it is expected that Kennedy’s retirement would push SCOTUS even further to the right as he was often considered the “center of the court.”  More from Axios:

White House sources think Justice Anthony Kennedy, the Supreme Court’s ideological fulcrum, may announce his retirement today, as the justices gather on the bench for the last time this term.

Trump’s first Court appointment, of Justice Neil Gorsuch, was a one-for-one ideological swap for the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

Replacing Kennedy would be even more historic and consequential: a momentous chance to edge the Court right, since Kennedy is the center of the Court — the one most willing to listen to both sides. On a controversial case, both sides pitch to him. It’s been called “Kennedy’s Court.”

No one’s predicting: Court watchers say no one knows, and Kennedy has said nothing publicly. He could well wait one more year: The Court buzz is that it’ll be this year or next.

Lyle Denniston, who has covered the Supreme Court for 58 years, headlines a post on his website, “High drama: Supreme Court term is ending”: “[R]umors have continued to make the rounds that … Kennedy, who will be 81 in July, could reveal plans [today] to end his career. … The longest serving of the Justices, Kennedy joined the court more than 29 years ago.”

If true, of course, this would give the Trump administration the opportunity to replace a second Supreme Court justice within the first year of his administration. 


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