Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a statement Thursday on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit decision to block President Donald Trump’s travel ban executive order, vowing to take the defense of that order to the United States Supreme Court.
“President Trump’s executive order is well within his lawful authority to keep the Nation safe,” Sessions wrote in the statement:
The Department of Justice strongly disagrees with the decision of the divided court, which blocks the President’s efforts to strengthen this country’s national security. As the dissenting judges explained, the executive order is a constitutional exercise of the President’s duty to protect our communities from terrorism. The President is not required to admit people from countries that sponsor or shelter terrorism, until he determines that they can be properly vetted and do not pose a security risk to the United States.
Earlier Thursday, the Fourth Circuit issued an en banc 10-3 decision to continue blocking the enforcement of President Trump’s order restricting travel and immigration from six Muslim-majority countries. The majority, over a forceful dissent, found that even though the order made no mention of disfavoring Muslims, the statements of Trump and his surrogates during the campaign rendered it a violation of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause.
“This Department of Justice will continue to vigorously defend the power and duty of the Executive Branch to protect the people of this country from danger, and will seek review of this case in the United States Supreme Court,” Sessions wrote in defiance of the Fourth Circuit’s decision.
The statement confirms that the Department of Justice under Attorney General Sessions will pursue the last remaining line of defense for the order and petition the Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari. The travel ban is written to only remain in effect for 90 days and will expire in June. If the current case is to be preserved, then the petition will need to be made on an emergency basis, calling the court back into session before the expiration.