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Attorney General Kilmartin Continues to Lead Fight Against Muslim Travel Ban on Appeal

Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin and fellow state attorneys general urge Fourth Circuit to uphold district court ruling that struck down the second, scaled-back version of President Trump's Muslim ban

Following their amicus brief opposing the Trump administration's request for a stay that would allow the second iteration of its Muslim ban to take effect, Rhode Island Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin has again joined a coalition of seventeen states filing a new amicus brief urging the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold the district court ruling that struck down the ban as unconstitutional. The states' brief explains the reasons that the district court's decision should not be overturned on appeal, including the overwhelming and unrebutted evidence of anti-Muslim animus, the lack of evidence of a national security rationale, and the significant harms that the ban would cause the states, their residents, and their institutions.

"It has been left up to attorneys general to fight against this Administration's unconstitutional and immoral actions against law abiding individuals simply because of their country of origin," said Attorney General Kilmartin. "Whether the issue is the harm caused by this ill-conceived travel ban, attempts to roll back environmental policies, or consumer protection laws, I will continue to keep the pressure on and fight any moves that are detrimental to the citizens of this state."

The states share with the court the considerable harms that would occur if the ban is allowed to go into effect, including harm to state colleges, universities, and medical institutions, reduced tax revenues and damage to state economies, harm to the medical care of residents, and harm to each state's antidiscrimination laws and protections for religious freedom found in the Constitution of each of the filing states.

In urging the court to affirm the existing preliminary injunction against the ban, the attorneys general write:

"The Amici States urge the Court to affirm the preliminary injunction because (1) the district court correctly determined that Plaintiffs are likely to succeed in showing that § 2(c) has the purpose of excluding Muslims and therefore violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment; (2) the balance of hardship tilts decidedly in Plaintiffs' favor because Defendants failed to adduce any evidence that they would be harmed by temporarily preserving the status quo that existed before EO-2; and (3) the public interest—including the interests of the States and their residents—strongly favors enjoining an unconstitutional executive order that fulfills the President's campaign promise to prevent Muslims from entering the country."

This amicus brief in support of affirmance was co-authored by Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring and Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh and joined by the attorneys general of California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

Previously, Attorney General Kilmartin was part of a 17 state coalition urging the Fourth Circuit to reject the Trump Administration's request to stay the district court injunction currently preventing the ban from going into effect. In urging the Court to continue the current injunction against the ban, the states made it clear that the Trump administration is unlikely to win their appeal; the public interest strongly favors a continued injunction against the stay; the Trump administration has not demonstrated the required "irreparable harm" that would entitle it to a stay; and States and their residents will face significant harm if the ban goes into effect.

Related links

  • Department or agency: Department of the Attorney General
  • Online: http://www.riag.ri.gov/
  • Release date: 04-19-2017

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