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Catholic News

IMAGE: CNS photo/Tyler OrsburnBy Carol ZimmermannWASHINGTON (CNS) -- In the last case before the U.S. SupremeCourt this session, it seemed the majority of justices might uphold PresidentDonald Trump's travel ban on people from several Muslim-majority countries.Commentsmade during the hourlong oral arguments April 25 in Trump v. Hawaii emphasized nationalsecurity reasons for Trump's action.The challengersto the ban -- Hawaii, several individuals and a Muslim group -- have argued thatTrump's policy was motivated by his antagonism toward Muslims and itviolates federal immigration law and the U.S. Constitution's prohibition on thegovernment favoring one religion over another.Trump'scampaign pledges, including one where he called for a "a total andcomplete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States," were raised incourt, but Solicitor General Noel Francisco said these comments should not influencethe justices because they were made before Trump was president.Francisco stressedthat T...

IMAGE: CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn

By Carol Zimmermann

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- In the last case before the U.S. Supreme Court this session, it seemed the majority of justices might uphold President Donald Trump's travel ban on people from several Muslim-majority countries.

Comments made during the hourlong oral arguments April 25 in Trump v. Hawaii emphasized national security reasons for Trump's action.

The challengers to the ban -- Hawaii, several individuals and a Muslim group -- have argued that Trump's policy was motivated by his antagonism toward Muslims and it violates federal immigration law and the U.S. Constitution's prohibition on the government favoring one religion over another.

Trump's campaign pledges, including one where he called for a "a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States," were raised in court, but Solicitor General Noel Francisco said these comments should not influence the justices because they were made before Trump was president.

Francisco stressed that Trump's basis for the travel ban was a result of concerns about national security and not personal beliefs.

"No matter what standard you apply, this proclamation is constitutional," he added.

Justice Samuel Alito said the travel ban didn't look "like a Muslim ban" as some have labeled it, saying it "only applies to about 8 percent of the world's Muslims."

But Justice Sonia Sotomayor asked: "Where does the president get the authority to do more than Congress has already decided is adequate" in national security measures. Francisco's response, in short, was that the country's immigration laws provide the executive branch broad authority to decide who can enter the country.

Trump has said the travel ban is necessary to protect the United States from terrorism by Islamic militants. Its current version is indefinite and applies to travelers from five countries with predominantly Muslim populations: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. It also blocks travelers from non-Muslim countries: North Korea and some Venezuelan government officials and their families.

Trump's first travel ban, issued right after he took office, was blocked by several U.S. courts. A few months later, a second version of the ban was similarly blocked by several lower courts but the Supreme Court voted last December to allow the policy to take effect until it heard oral arguments about it.

Catholic Church leaders have expressed their objection to the travel ban.

An amicus brief filed March 30 by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishop, Catholic Charities USA and Catholic Legal Immigration Network said the ban singles out "populations of six overwhelmingly Muslim nations for sweeping immigration restrictions" that do not exist elsewhere in the world.

The brief said the president's order showed "blatant religious discrimination," which is "repugnant to the Catholic faith, core American values, and the United States Constitution." It also said the Supreme Court should relegate the order "to the dustbin of history, so it will do no further harm."

The Catholic groups noted that Trump's action poses a major threat to religious liberty and also fails the basic test of religious neutrality. If it stands, they said, it will prevent countless refugees from escaping persecution and starting a new life in this country with the help of church resettlement agencies.

Before, during and after the oral arguments, about 100 demonstrators gathered outside the Supreme Court on the rainy spring morning holding up signs saying: "Refugees Welcome" and "No Muslim Ban" The fairly small crowd should not belie the interest in this case, which received friend of the court briefs from Mormon history and legal scholars, a group of U.S art museums, and Khizr Khan, the Gold Star father who criticized Trump at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

Anticipating the interest in the case, the court announced in mid-April that it would make the audio of the oral argument available shortly after the court session was over instead of at the end of the week when audios are normally released.

A ruling in this case is expected in late June.

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Follow Zimmermann on Twitter: @carolmaczim.

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Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

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HOUSTON (AP) -- Former President George H.W. Bush was moved out of intensive care and into a regular patient room at a Houston hospital on Wednesday as he recovers from an infection that required his hospitalization a day after his wife's funeral, a family spokesman said....

HOUSTON (AP) -- Former President George H.W. Bush was moved out of intensive care and into a regular patient room at a Houston hospital on Wednesday as he recovers from an infection that required his hospitalization a day after his wife's funeral, a family spokesman said....

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court seemed poised Wednesday to uphold President Donald Trump's ban on travel to the U.S. by visitors from several Muslim-majority countries, a move that would hand the president a major victory on a controversial signature policy....

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court seemed poised Wednesday to uphold President Donald Trump's ban on travel to the U.S. by visitors from several Muslim-majority countries, a move that would hand the president a major victory on a controversial signature policy....

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NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) -- The Latest on Bill Cosby's sexual assault retrial (all times local):...

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) -- The Latest on Bill Cosby's sexual assault retrial (all times local):...

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- French President Emmanuel Macron drew sharp contrasts with President Donald Trump's worldview Wednesday, laying out a firm vision of global leadership that rejects "the illusion of nationalism" in a candid counterweight to Trump's appeals to put "America first."...

WASHINGTON (AP) -- French President Emmanuel Macron drew sharp contrasts with President Donald Trump's worldview Wednesday, laying out a firm vision of global leadership that rejects "the illusion of nationalism" in a candid counterweight to Trump's appeals to put "America first."...

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TIJUANA, Mexico (AP) -- About 130 Central Americans, mostly women and children, have arrived at the U.S. border with Mexico in a "caravan" of asylum-seeking immigrants that has drawn the fury of President Donald Trump....

TIJUANA, Mexico (AP) -- About 130 Central Americans, mostly women and children, have arrived at the U.S. border with Mexico in a "caravan" of asylum-seeking immigrants that has drawn the fury of President Donald Trump....

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The Tennessee Waffle House where four people were fatally shot reopened Wednesday amid tears and solemn remembrance of the dead, as the company said it will donate a month of the restaurant's sales to help the wounded survivors and the families of the slain....

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The Tennessee Waffle House where four people were fatally shot reopened Wednesday amid tears and solemn remembrance of the dead, as the company said it will donate a month of the restaurant's sales to help the wounded survivors and the families of the slain....

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TORONTO (AP) -- The deadly van rampage in Toronto is training attention on an online world of sexual loneliness, rage and misogyny after the suspect invoked an uprising by "involuntary celibates" and gave a shoutout to a California killer who seethed at women for rejecting him....

TORONTO (AP) -- The deadly van rampage in Toronto is training attention on an online world of sexual loneliness, rage and misogyny after the suspect invoked an uprising by "involuntary celibates" and gave a shoutout to a California killer who seethed at women for rejecting him....

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- A man once sworn to protect the public from crime lived a double life terrorizing suburban neighborhoods at night, becoming one of the California's most feared serial killers and rapists in the 1970s and '80s before leaving a cold trail that baffled investigators for more than three decades....

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- A man once sworn to protect the public from crime lived a double life terrorizing suburban neighborhoods at night, becoming one of the California's most feared serial killers and rapists in the 1970s and '80s before leaving a cold trail that baffled investigators for more than three decades....

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- Dr. Ronny Jackson had a pattern of recklessly prescribing drugs and drunken behavior, including crashing a government vehicle while intoxicated and doling out a large supply of a prescription opioid to a White House military staff member, according to a summary of accusations compiled by Democratic staff on the committee considering his nomination as Veterans Affairs secretary....

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Dr. Ronny Jackson had a pattern of recklessly prescribing drugs and drunken behavior, including crashing a government vehicle while intoxicated and doling out a large supply of a prescription opioid to a White House military staff member, according to a summary of accusations compiled by Democratic staff on the committee considering his nomination as Veterans Affairs secretary....

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