Supreme Court to rule on Trump travel ban

The Supreme Court has agreed to decide the legality of the latest version of President Donald Trump’s ban on travel to the United States. (AP)
Updated 19 January 2018
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Supreme Court to rule on Trump travel ban

WASHINGTON: The Supreme Court agreed Friday to decide the legality of the latest version of President Donald Trump’s ban on travel to the United States by residents of six majority-Muslim countries.
The issue pits an administration that considers the restrictions necessary for Americans’ security against challengers who claim it is illegally aimed at Muslims and stems from Trump’s campaign call for a “complete shutdown of Muslims” entering the US
The justices plan to hear argument in April and issue a final ruling by late June on a Trump policy that has been repeatedly blocked and struck down in the lower courts.
The latest of those rulings came last month when the federal appeals court in San Francisco ruled that the travel ban Trump announced in September violates federal immigration law.
The federal appeals court in Richmond, Virginia, also is considering a challenge to the ban.
Last month, the high court said the ban could be fully enforced while appeals made their way through the courts.
The policy applies to travelers from Chad, 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 has never ruled on whether any of the three versions of the travel ban is legal. The court agreed last June to take up the second version until it expired in the early fall.
Trump’s first travel ban was issued almost a year ago, almost immediately after he took office, and was aimed at seven countries. It triggered chaos and protests across the US as travelers were stopped from boarding international flights and detained at airports for hours. Trump tweaked the order after the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit refused to reinstate the ban.
The next version, unveiled in March, dropped Iraq from the list of covered countries and made it clear the 90-day ban covering Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen didn’t apply to those travelers who already had valid visas. It also got rid of language that would give priority to religious minorities. Critics said the changes didn’t erase the legal problems with the ban.
The same appeals courts that are evaluating the current policy agreed with the challengers. The 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond said the ban “drips with religious intolerance, animus and discrimination.” The San Francisco-based 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Trump violated immigration law.
The Supreme Court allowed the ban to take partial effect, but said those with a claim of a “bona fide” relationship with someone in the United States could not be kept out of the country. Grandparents, cousins and other relatives were among those who could not be excluded.
But the high court said lower courts were wrong to apply the same limits to the new policy, at least while it is being appealed. The justices did not explain their brief order.
The third version is permanent, unlike the other two, and the administration said it is the product of a thorough review by several agencies of how other countries’ screen their own citizens and share information with the US
Solicitor General Noel Francisco said in court papers that the policy is well within the president’s “broad authority to suspend or restrict the entry of aliens outside the United States when he deems it in the Nation’s interest.”
In response, the challengers said the policy violates the Constitution because it is biased against Muslims and also violates immigration law. The new version continues “the same unlawful policy” that was struck down by lower courts last year, lawyer Neal Katyal said in his brief on behalf of the challengers.


What’s next for Italy as populists take charge?

Updated 21 May 2018
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What’s next for Italy as populists take charge?

  • Italy's proposed coalition mix of far-right, anti-establishment and euro-skeptic policies.
  • Both Di Maio and Salvini insist that they want to create a coalition that can last the full five-year mandate and implement their program.

ROME: A mix of far-right, anti-establishment and euro-skeptic policies, was promised by Italy’s proposed coalition government, leading the international community to wonder what the future holds for the eurozone’s third largest economy.
Here are answers to five pressing questions as the League and Five Star Movement (M5S) prepare to take charge.
Despite outspoken criticism of the European Union from both parties, the final version of the M5S-League government program does not mention a unilateral exit from the eurozone.
M5S abandoned their idea of a referendum on the euro and while the League has called the currency “a failed economic and social experiment,” the party has proposed a series of reforms and an eventual coordinated group exit along with a number of other countries in the long term.
M5S hold more clout in the new coalition having won almost 33 percent in March’s election, compared to the League’s 17 percent, even if League leader Matteo Salvini claims to represent the 37 percent who voted for his rightwing coalition.
While Salvini is the undisputed top dog of the League, the shadow of M5S founder Beppe Grillo, an outspoken former comedian, still looms large over the party led by Luigi Di Maio.
A question mark also hangs over the fate of flamboyant former premier Silvio Berlusconi. Part of the rightwing alliance with Salvini, Berlusconi begrudgingly gave the green light for the League and M5s to make a deal without his Forza Italia party.
The aging media tycoon, however, disapproves of the new government program and, after a recent court ruling overturned a ban on him holding public office, could once again be able to exert influence from inside parliament — if a member of his party offers up their seat.
Never afraid of a long shot, Berlusconi has also offered himself up as a potential future premier.
Both Di Maio and Salvini insist that they want to create a coalition that can last the full five-year mandate and implement their program.
Their parties, however, only have a wafer-thin six vote majority in the Senate, which holds the same power as that of the Chamber of Deputies, where they have a 32-vote majority.
The two parties will have to hold onto their MPs, particularly those who view the new alliance with skepticism, in order to go the distance.
A tumultuous campaign, inconclusive elections and a prolonged period of political deadlock meant that financial markets were already nervous, especially faced with the possibility of a return to the polls.
So the prospect of a M5S-League accord was initially met with some relief — until the coalition revealed their government program.
In response to the document’s costly financial measures and euroskeptic tone, key financial indicators pointed to decreasing investor confidence in Italy.
The difference in yield between Italian and German 10-year government bonds has gained 40 points in less than a week, increasing to 170 points.
Italy’s president Sergio Mattarella has the power to veto ministers and reject any law deemed financially non-viable for the country.
He is also the guarantor of Italy’s international commitments and will keep a close eye on any move to modify the country’s role on the world stage, especially given Salvini’s scathing comments about the EU and praise for Russian leader Vladimir Putin.