Appeals Court Will Hear Arguments Today In An Important Muslim Ban Case

Today, an important case challenging President Donald J. Trump’s Muslim Ban 2.0 will be heard by a panel of judges in the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Virginia.

The case, International Refugee Assistance Project v. Trump, led to a federal judge in Maryland joining a judge in Hawaiʻi in blocking the second Muslim ban nationwide just as the ban would have gone into effect in March. The government appealed, and the 4th Circuit will hear the case today.

Americans United filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case in which we argued that the Muslim ban should not go into effect. We were joined by the Southern Poverty Law Center; Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice; five Christian faith leaders from Colorado, Minnesota and New York; and The Riverside Church in New York City.

As our brief points out, the challenged executive order is the un-American Muslim ban Trump promised during his presidential campaign. The ban is unconstitutional because it discriminates against Muslims based solely on their religion. If allowed to go into effect, it would cause immediate harm to the American Muslim community.

“If the Executive Order is allowed to go into effect, family members living in different countries will be estranged. People fleeing violence in war-torn regions will be trapped in life-threatening circumstances,” the brief states. “And religion (albeit couched in the language of national origin) will determine whether hundreds of thousands of people have access to the opportunities of life and travel in the United States.”

AU noted in the brief that it is clear that the intent of the executive order is to discriminate against Muslims, regardless of how Trump’s team tries to market it. 

International Refugee Assistance Project v. Trump is a massively important Muslim ban case.

“President Trump spent more than a year on the campaign trail promising ‘a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,’” the brief notes. “He repeatedly disparaged and vilified an entire religion and all its adherents.”

That’s why AU continues fighting the Muslim ban, both through friend-of-the-court briefs in lawsuits across the country and through our own lawsuit, Universal Muslim Association of America v. Trump, which we filed with our allies, Muslim Advocates, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the law firm Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer. Our case focuses on how the Muslim ban is impacting the American Muslim community. A federal judge in Washington, D.C., heard arguments in the case on April 21 and we are awaiting the judge’s decision on our request for a nationwide preliminary injunction. (Read more about our work to block the Muslim ban here.)

On May 15, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear arguments in another case challenging the Muslim ban – State of Hawaiʻi v. Trump, in which we also filed a friend-of-the-court brief.

To highlight these important hearings and to show support for the Muslim community, the #NoMuslimBanEver campaign begins a week of action today. The campaign aims “to raise awareness and continue the resistance against the Muslim and refugee bans. Let’s make sure that the courts and the country hears the voices of affected communities and allies in declaring: No Muslim Ban. Ever.”

You can help us support the Muslim community, educate others about the importance of fighting religious discrimination and resist any attempts by the Trump administration to enact an unconstitutional Muslim ban by using the #NoMuslimBanEver hashtag on social media. If you’re in Richmond, Va., or Seattle, Wash., join the rallies at the federal courthouses during the hearings.

You can listen to the arguments before the 4th Circuit live on C-SPAN today, and you can watch full video of the arguments before the 9th Circuit on May 15.

AU Attorneys Andrew Nellis and Kelly Percival offered this Facebook Live video update from outside the Richmond courthouse after the May 8 arguments: (you can also watch it on Facebook here)