We are very pleased we were able to ensure that our clients’ insights and analysis were before the Court…

Hangley Aronchick attorneys Mark Aronchick and Robert Wiygul recently filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court of the United States on behalf of a group of law professors in the matter of Donald J. Trump, President of the United States, et al. v. State of Hawaii, et al. This case involves certain provisions in Executive Order No. 13,780, 82 Fed. Reg. 13,209 (Mar. 9, 2017), more commonly known as the Travel Ban, which temporarily prohibits certain classes of persons from entering the United States.

The State of Hawaii and other plaintiffs argue that the Travel Ban violates the U.S. Constitution and various federal statutes. The lower courts ruled that substantial portions of the Executive Order were unlawful and could not be enforced. At the end of June, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case during its October 2017 Term and, in the meantime, prohibited the federal government from enforcing the Travel Ban against anyone with a “bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States,” which, the Court explained, includes a “close familial relationship.” The government then interpreted this phrase narrowly, excluding grandparents and certain other non-nuclear family members from the definition of “close familial relationship.”  After a federal district court rejected the government’s interpretation of the Supreme Court’s ruling, the government sought clarification from the Supreme Court.

The amici represented by Hangley Aronchick are experts in immigration law and family law who are concerned that the government’s definition of “close familial relationship” conflicts with constitutional tradition and statutory law protecting certain familial relationships that extend beyond the nuclear family. Because of this, amici argue, the government’s interpretation of the Supreme Court’s ruling is too narrow and would cause concrete hardship to individuals in the United States.

“Our clients’ submission is in the best tradition of amicus briefs,” said Wiygul.  “It gives the Court the benefit of our clients’ perspective and expertise as legal scholars, shedding important light on the key issues in this case, which lie at the intersection of constitutional law, family law, and immigration law.”

Due to the quick pace of the litigation, the amicus brief was prepared and filed in a very short timeframe — the district court entered its order on July 13, 2017; the government filed its motion for clarification on June 15, 2017; and the amicus brief was filed on the morning of June 18, 2017.  “It was a whirlwind effort,” Wiygul remarked, “but we are very pleased we were able to ensure that our clients’ insights and analysis were before the Court as it considered these important issues.”

The Hangley Aronchick team also included paralegal Robert Hrouda.

Read the Amicus Brief