Today, the American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ) filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. The brief defends the constitutionality of the revised Executive Order that protects our country from the entry of foreign terrorists. The brief was joined by over 205,000 members of the ACLJ’s Committee to Defend Our National Security from Terror. The appeal involves a preliminary injunction entered by a federal trial judge in Maryland that halts the enforcement of the Executive Order.
The revised Executive Order temporarily pauses entry into the United States of refugees and nationals of six unstable and/or terrorism-infested countries, which were designated as such by the Obama Administration. The clear purpose of the executive order is to allow time for needed improvements to the immigration and refugee screening processes. The six countries of particular concern are Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
The brief explains that President Trump has broad power to exclude aliens from this country on the basis of facially legitimate reasons, for example, the national security reasons that underpin the revised Executive Order. When the Supreme Court has considered constitutional challenges to immigration-related actions of this sort, it has declined to subject those actions to the same level of scrutiny applied to non-immigration-related actions. The revised Executive Order is a valid exercise of the President’s authority that the courts should not disturb.
Yet, the trial court in this case actually concluded that the Executive Order constituted a “Muslim Ban” in violation of the Establishment Clause – a clearly erroneous and constitutionally dubious conclusion.
Even if the revised Executive Order were subject to traditional Establishment Clause analysis, we argue that it still passes constitutional scrutiny. We explain that the trial court erred when it sidestepped the Executive Order’s obvious secular purpose by focusing on miscellaneous comments made by then-candidate Trump, or by his advisors, which the court wrongly concluded evidenced an anti-Muslim purpose for the Executive Order.
We explain that the mere suggestion of a possible religious or anti-religious motive, mined from past comments of a political candidate or his supporters while said on the campaign trial as private citizens, is not enough to doom government action. The Supreme Court has explained that all that is needed to establish the constitutionality of a government action is that it have a secular purpose and was not motivated wholly by religious considerations. The revised Executive Order clearly serves a genuine secular purpose—protecting our national security—and is not motivated by any anti-religious considerations. The revised Executive Order is constitutional.
The ACLJ will continue to keep you posted on this case and our other efforts to defend the national security of this nation.
We plan to file another amicus brief in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in the coming days. Join our brief by adding your name below.
As we aggressively fight to protect our national security and Christians, we urgently need your support. Defend America & Christians today.
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