Colorado federal appeals court judge Neil Gorsuch is President Donald Trump’s nomination for the Supreme Court.
If confirmed by the Senate, Neil Gorsuch, 49, would restore the court’s conservative majority, lost with the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.
The Senate Democratic leader has said he has “very serious doubts” about Judge Neil Gorsuch’s nomination.
The court has the final legal word on many of the most sensitive issues, from abortion to gender to gun control.
President Trump said Judge Gorsuch had a “superb intellect, an unparalleled legal education, and a commitment to interpreting the Constitution according to text”.
“Judge Gorsuch has outstanding legal skills, a brilliant mind, tremendous discipline, and has earned bipartisan support,” he said.
Neil Gorsuch was picked from a shortlist of 21 choices, which Donald Trump made public during the election campaign.
Image source Getty Images
Accepting the nomination, Neil Gorsuch said: “It is the role of judges to apply, not alter, the work of the people’s representatives. A judge who likes every outcome he reaches is very likely a bad judge, stretching for results he prefers rather than those the law demands.”
Judge Gorsuch is a so-called originalist, meaning he believes the US Constitution should be followed as the Founding Fathers intended.
If successful, Neil Gorsuch’s nomination will restore the 5-4 conservative majority on the nine-seat high court.
Protests against Donald Trump’s choice were held outside the Supreme Court following the announcement.
Neil Gorsuch’s nomination is expected to spark a political showdown in the Senate.
Former President Barack Obama had put forward Judge Merrick Garland after Justice Antonin Scalia’s death in February 2016.
However, Republicans refused to debate the choice, saying it was too close to an election, which left Democrats embittered.
Even if Judge Neil Gorsuch makes it through the Senate Judiciary Committee, he will still face challenges when the entire chamber convenes for a final vote.
Democrats may seek to prevent that second vote by prolonging or filibustering the debate. In that case, the nomination would need 60 votes rather than a simple majority.
With Republicans only holding 52 Senate seats, they may have to change Senate rules in order to approve Donald Trump’s nominee.
The Supreme Court is often the ultimate arbiter on highly contentious laws, disputes between states and the federal government, and final appeals to stay executions.
The highest court hears fewer than 100 cases a year and the key announcements are made in June.
Each of the nine justices serves a lifetime appointment after being nominated by the president and approved by the Senate.
The Supreme Court already has cases this term on the rights of transgender students, gerrymandered voting districts and on the Texas death penalty determination.
It is also likely the court will hear cases on voter rights, abortion, racial bias in policing and US immigration policy, and possibly on Donald Trump’s controversial executive order banning refugees.
President Donald Trump has fired Acting Attorney General Sally Yates after she questioned the legality of his immigration ban.
Sally Yates, who had been appointed under President Barack Obama, earlier ordered justice department lawyers not to enforce the president’s executive order.
Dana J. Boente, US attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, replaced Sally Yates as acting attorney general.
He has directed the department to enforce Donald Trump’s order.
In a statement, the White House said Sally Yates had “betrayed” the department.
Donald Trump’s order temporarily banned nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US, and sparked street protests in the country and abroad.
In a letter, Sally Yates had said she was “not convinced” that the president’s order was lawful.
She said: “As long as I am the acting attorney general, the department of justice will not present arguments in defense of the Executive Order.”
Within hours, the White House announced: “President Trump relieved Ms Yates of her duties.”
Image source Wikipedia
Sally Yates had “betrayed the department of justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States”, a statement from the press secretary said.
The statement also described her as “weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration”.
Sally Yates’ replacement, Dana Boente, was also appointed by Barack Obama, in 2015. He was confirmed by the US Senate – making him eligible for appointment while President Trump waits for his own nominee to be approved.
Senator Jeff Sessions is awaiting a confirmation hearing for the role later this week.
Meanwhile, hundreds of diplomats and foreign servants have been drafting a “dissent cable” to formally criticize Trump’s executive order.
A draft version of the cable said that immigration restrictions will not make the US safer, are un-American and will send the wrong message to the Muslim world.
The ban bars citizens from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.
The White House has consistently defended Donald Trump’s executive order despite the controversy, with press secretary Sean Spicer saying diplomats should “get with the program”.
In addition, former President Barack Obama has apparently broken with the convention of former presidents avoiding comment on their successors.
Commenting on the protests about the immigration order, Barack Obama said he was “heartened”.
In a statement, which did not mention Donald Trump by name, Barack Obama said: “Citizens exercising their constitutional right to assemble, organise and have their voices heard by their elected officials is exactly what we expect to see when American values are at stake.”
Donald Trump also replaced the acting director of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Daniel Ragsdale, who has been in the post since January 20. He is the former deputy director.
The president appointed Thomas Homan, the executive associate director of enforcement and removal, as the new acting director.
A statement from the Department of Homeland Security announcing the change did not explain the reason for it.
President Donald Trump is standing firm over his ban on immigration from seven countries despite court rulings and mass protests against it.
In a statement, the president said visas would once again be issued once “the most secure policies” were in place, and denied it was a Muslim ban.
The move has been widely condemned.
Meanwhile, 16 state attorneys general have said the order is unconstitutional. Several federal judges have temporarily halted the deportation of visa holders.
Donald Trump’s executive order, signed on January 27, halted the entire US refugee program for 120 days, indefinitely banned Syrian refugees, and suspended all nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries.
Those who were already mid-flight were detained on arrival – even if they held valid US visas or other immigration permits. It is not known how many others were turned away at airports overseas as they tried to board flights to the US.
Thousands gathered at airports around the country to protest on January 28, including lawyers who offered their services for free to those affected.
Image source Flickr
Further demonstrations were held on January 29, including protests outside the White House and Trump Tower in New York.
As well as the ban on all refugees, travelers who have nationality or dual nationality of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen are not permitted to enter the United States for 90 days, or be issued an immigrant or non-immigrant visa.
This includes those who share dual nationality with allied countries, although Canada has been told its dual nationals are not affected.
White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said US green-card holders – legal residents – would also not be affected, but some have been detained since the order came into effect.
President Trump tweeted early on January 29 that the US needed “extreme vetting, NOW” but later, in a statement, tried to offer more reassuring words, saying: “This is not about religion – this is about terror and keeping our country safe.
“We will again be issuing visas to all countries once we are sure we have reviewed and implemented the most secure policies over the next 90 days.”
Reince Priebus rejected criticism that the implementation of the order had been chaotic, and said only 109 people, out of 325,000 travelling, had been detained and “most of those people were moved out”.
He told reporters on January 29: “We’ve got a couple of dozen more that remain and I would suspect that as long as they’re not awful people that they will move through before another half a day today.”
However, they have failed to allay concern among some in their Republican party. Senator John McCain said the order would “probably, in some areas, give ISIS some more propaganda”, while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said it was important to remember that “some of our best sources in the war against radical Islamic terrorism are Muslims”.
Democratic Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer said the US now appeared “less humanitarian, less safe, less American” and said the Democrats would introduce legislation to overturn it.
In a joint statement, 16 attorneys general, from states including California, New York and Pennsylvania, said they would “use all of the tools of our offices to fight this unconstitutional order” and, until it was struck down, would “work to ensure that as few people as possible suffer from the chaotic situation that it has created”.
Yesterday, federal Judge Ann Donnelly, in New York, ruled against the removal from the US of people with approved refugee applications, valid visas, and “other individuals… legally authorized to enter the United States”.
A New York judge has issued a temporary halt to the deportation of visa holders or refugees stranded at airports following President Donald Trump’s executive order.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a case in response to the order issued on Friday.
The group estimates that between 100 and 200 people are being detained at airports or in transit.
Thousands of people have been protesting at US airports over Donald Trump’s immigration order.
Donald Trump’s executive order halted the entire US refugee program and also instituted a 90-day travel ban for nationals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
Those who were already mid-flight were detained on arrival – even if they held valid visas or other immigration permits.
On January 28, President Trump told reporters: “It’s working out very nicely. You see it at the airports, you see it all over.”
The ruling, from District Judge Ann Donnelly in New York, prevented the removal from the US of people with approved refugee applications, valid visas, and “other individuals… legally authorized to enter the United States”.
The emergency ruling also said there was a risk of “substantial and irreparable injury” to those affected.
Judge Donnelly’s ruling is not on the constitutionality of Donald Trump’s executive order. What will happen to those still held at airports remains unclear.
The case was brought on January 28 on behalf of two Iraqi men detained at JFK Airport in New York.
One worked for the US military in Iraq. The other is married to a former US military contract employee.
Both have now been released. Another court hearing is set for February.
Lee Gelernt, deputy legal director of the Immigrants Rights Project, argued the case in court and was greeted by a cheering crowd outside.
He said that some people had been threatened with being “put back on a plane”.
“The judge, in a nutshell, saw through what the government was doing and gave us what we wanted, which was to block the Trump order and not allow the government to remove anybody who has come and is caught up in the order, nationwide,” Lee Gelernt told the crowd.
He also said the judge had ordered the government to provide a list of names of those detained under the order.
“We are going to see each of the people, provide counsel, try and get them out of detention right now – but at minimum, they will not be returned back to danger,” Lee Gelernt said.
In addition to those detained on arrival in the US, some passengers were prevented from boarding US-bound flights after the order was signed.
On January 28, five Iraqi passengers and a Yemeni national were prevented from boarding a flight at Cairo airport bound for New York.
Dutch airline KLM said it had turned away seven people who were booked on US-bound flights because they would no longer have been accepted.
Canadian PM Justin Trudeau has taken a stand on social media against the temporary US ban on refugees and immigration from designated countries.
In a series of tweets, Justin Trudeau underscored his government’s commitment to bringing in “those fleeing persecution, terror & war”.
Within hours, his tweets had been shared more than 150,000 times.
“Welcome to Canada” also became a trending term in the country.
The prime minister, who gained global attention for granting entry of nearly 40,000 Syrian refugees to Canada over the past 13 months, also sent a pointed tweet that showed him greeting a young refugee at a Canadian airport in 2015.
On January 27, President Donald Trump signed an executive order suspending entry to the United States from Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Iran, Somalia, Libya, and Yemen for 90 days.
Photo The Canadian Press
The US’s entire refugee admissions program has also been suspended for 120 days.
Those fleeing Syria as refugees are banned until further notice.
The executive orders created confusion in airports around the world as immigration and customs officials struggled to interpret the new rules.
The Canadian government is also in contact with the US administration “to get more clarity” on how the executive orders will affect Canadians citizens travelling to the US, said federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau.
According to State Department, all travelers – including those with dual nationality – from one of the seven designated countries will be barred from entering the US.
That includes people with valid immigrant or non-immigrant visas.
Justin Trudeau has refrained from criticizing Donald Trump, despite the fact the two leaders have very divergent political views.
In recent media appearances, Justin Trudeau has focused on the long friendship between Canada and the US and the deep economic ties between the two nations. The US is Canada’s primary trading partner.
Canada plans to allow 300,000 immigrants into the country in 2017, mostly through economic immigration, though that figure includes 40,000 refugees.
Two Iraqi refugees in transit have been detained at John F. Kennedy airport following President Donald Trump’s immigration order.
Meanwhile, rights groups have filed a lawsuit in a New York court to demand their release.
According to the executive order signed on January 27, entry to the US for nationals of seven Muslim-majority countries has been stopped for 90 days. People fleeing Syria are banned until further notice.
The other countries affected are Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.
Image source Flickr
The two refugees detained in New York were in transit when the executive order was signed.
One of them, Haneed Khalid Darweesh, who had worked as a US Army interpreter, was released on January 28.
The other man, Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi, remains in detention.
New York Representative Jerry Nadler tweeted that he and fellow Democratic Representative Nydia Velazquez were working to help 11 more refugees still being held.
Several rights groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), are involved in the lawsuit, filed on January 28.
Other Iraqi passengers and a Yemeni national were prevented from boarding a flight at Cairo airport bound for New York, despite holding valid visas for the US.
Google has announced it is recalling travelling staff members to the United States after an executive order from President Donald Trump restricting entry for nationals of seven Muslim-majority countries.
According to the order, Syrian refugees are banned from entry until further notice.
Nationals of six further countries, including Iran and Iraq, will be banned from entering the US for 90 days.
The entire US refugee admissions program is suspended for 120 days, and a lower cap on numbers introduced.
On January 28, several Iraqi passengers and a Yemeni national were prevented from boarding a flight at Cairo airport bound for New York, despite holding valid visas for the US.
The American Civil Liberties Union says it has filed a suit challenging the executive order. The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) also says it will file a lawsuit.
The new restrictions will have a major impact on technology companies that hire skilled staff from all over the world on special H1-B visas.
There have been reports that “green card” holders, who are legal permanent residents of the US, being prevented from getting on flights. However, green cards are not specifically mentioned in the executive order, and so the status of green card holders remains unclear.
CAIR advised non-US citizens, including permanent residents, from the seven countries to plan to delay all international travel for at least 90 days.
President Trump said the measures detailed in his executive order would “keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the US”.
However, rights groups say there is no link between Syrian refugees in the US and terrorism.
Donald Trump signed the order on January 27, which was International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
His statement to mark that occasion, on the 72nd anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, made no mention of Jews or anti-Semitism.
The sudden and severe immigration restrictions imposed on passport holders from seven Muslim countries could seriously demonstrate the law of unintended consequences. The president wants to restrict some Muslims but the effect could be to damage America’s most important and profitable sector: technology.
Google has recalled around 100 of its affected staff from overseas. Microsoft has warned its shareholders that curbs on immigration could have a material impact on its business.
The technology sector relies heavily on highly skilled and well-paid workers from overseas on H1-B visas. If there’s a risk, however small, that that brainpower could be restricted in some way or scare off others who may feel unwelcome, the big tech companies may have to rethink where they place their key staff in future.
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