AMP Report – January 30, 2017
Lawsuits filed challenging Trump’s Muslim ban
On January 30, 2017, at least two lawsuits were filed against against President's Trump's "Muslim ban" executive order issued three days ago. In Seattle, Washington, State Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced that he is challenging President Donald Trump’s executive order banning Muslim immigrants and refugees, calling it unconstitutional and asking for a temporary restraining order. In Washington DC, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) filed the federal lawsuit on behalf of more than 20 “John Doe” individuals who say President Donald Trump’s unilateral “Muslim ban” action is unconstitutional. CAIR lists Trump, new Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, the State Department and the director of national intelligence as defendants in its lawsuit.
Washington State files lawsuit
Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson said in a statement that “No one is above the law — not even the President.” “And in the courtroom, it is not the loudest voice that prevails. It’s the Constitution.” In documents filed Jan. 30 against Trump, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and high-ranking Trump Administration officials, Ferguson argues that the order violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection and the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause, infringes individuals’ constitutional right to due process and contravenes the federal Immigration and Nationality Act. Ferguson’s complaint asserts that the President’s actions are “separating Washington families, harming thousands of Washington residents, damaging Washington’s economy, hurting Washington-based companies, and undermining Washington’s sovereign interest in remaining a welcoming place for immigrants and refugees.”
Tech companies joined the Washington state government to fight against Donald Trump’s Muslim ban order. At least three tech companies — Microsoft, Amazon, and Expedia —joined that legal fight. A Microsoft spokesman told Reuters that the company is providing information about the effect of the order in order to “be supportive.” They also would “be happy to testify further if needed.” Microsoft, Amazon, and Expedia are all based in the Seattle, Washington area. Other tech company executives, ranging from Tesla CEO Elon Musk to Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg, have spoken out against the order.
CAIR files broadest lawsuit
In Washington DC., the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the largest Muslim civil advocacy group, filed the federal lawsuit on behalf of more than 20 “John Doe” individuals who say President Donald Trump’s unilateral “Muslim ban” action is unconstitutional. “Our First Amendment is under attack.”
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court - Eastern District of Virginia, states that the order is unconstitutional because its apparent purpose and underlying motive is to ban people of the Islamic faith in Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.
Twelve anonymous plaintiffs in the suit fear the worst. A Somali on a student visa, a Syrian refugee on asylum, and a Sudanese permanent resident petitioning for his wife to rejoin him are among those arguing that they stand to lose their ability to become U.S. citizens on the basis of religious discrimination.
“It is not a matter of legality; it is a matter of morality and there is a big difference. If you want to play it by law, yes slavery was legal, but it was wrong. Preventing women from voting in America was legal, but it was wrong. Preventing refugees from entering now is wrong,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad.
“Our First Amendment is under attack. We, as attorneys, are foot soldiers of the American Constitution and took an oath to protect all from being targeted by the government because of their faith,” Shereef Akeel, an attorney who is co-counsel on the lawsuit, said in a press release.
The lawsuit comes as the acting Attorney General, Sally Yates, ordered Justice Department lawyers to not defend the controversial executive order in court. “For as long as I am the acting attorney general," Ms Yates said, "the Department of Justice will not present arguments in defence of the executive order, unless and until I become convinced that it is appropriate to do so." Not surprisingly, Sally Yates was fired by the Trump administration.
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