Southern California 
Chinese Lawyers Association


02 Apr 2018 12:00 PM | SCCLA (Administrator)

The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) led 62 affiliated national and local Asian Pacific American bar associations in filing an amicus brief in Trump v. State of Hawaii (No. 17-965, to be argued before the United States Supreme Court on April 25, 2018. Together, these Asian Pacific American bar associations urged the Court to support the injunction of President Trump’s Sept. 24, 2017, revised executive order barring refugees and individuals from six Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S.

“The Asian Pacific American legal community has once again said that the President’s actions are discriminatory and unlawful,” said NAPABA President Pankit J. Doshi. “Lower courts from across of the country have repeatedly upheld injunctions on all three versions of the ban. NAPABA has argued in each of those cases that the ban violates key principles of our laws and harkens back to an era of invidious discrimination our country has rejected. Today, we again bring forward the consensus of the Asian Pacific American legal community urging the Supreme Court to uphold the Ninth Circuit’s ruling and reject discrimination under the color of law.”

The Trump Administration’s appeals in this case, State of Hawaii v. Trump, arises from the legal challenges to the third revised executive order, which was announced in September 2017 and set to take effect Oct. 18, 2017. On Oct. 17, 2017, Judge Derrick K. Watson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii granted the temporary restraining order. The Ninth Circuit upheld the injunction on Dec. 22, 2017. NAPABA filed amicus briefs in both courts.

NAPABA’s Supreme Court amicus brief describes decades of statutory exclusion of citizens of Asian and Pacific Island countries under early U.S. immigration law, including the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 — the first federal law to ban a group of people on the basis of their race. The Civil Rights Era marked a dramatic turning point that saw Congress dismantle nationality-based discrimination with the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. The brief explains that presidential discretion in the area of immigration and refugee admission, while broad, is limited by statute. NAPABA argues that President Trump’s revised order, with its anti-Muslim underpinnings, violates the unambiguous prohibition on discrimination established by Congress.

A related challenge exists in International Refugee Assistance Project v. Trump. Judge Theodore K. Chuang of the U.S. District Court of Maryland enjoined the visa ban on Oct. 17, 2017. The Fourth Circuit upheld his ruling on Feb. 15, 2018. NAPABA filed amicus briefs in support of the injunction in both courts.

NAPABA opposed earlier iterations of the executive order, including submitting amicus briefs at the District, Circuit, and Supreme Court level.

NAPABA recognizes lead pro bono counsel, James W. Kim, a NAPABA member and partner at McDermott Will & Emery LLP, in Washington, D.C.; Mr. Kim’s team (including Cathy Zeman Scheineson, Matthew M. Girgenti, and Llewelyn M. Engel); NAPABA Amicus Committee co-chairs, Professor Radha Pathak of Whittier Law School and Albert Giang, a partner at Boies Schiller Flexner LLP in Los Angeles; and Meredith Higashi, NAPABA Civil Rights Committee co-chair for their leadership drafting the brief, as well as recognizes the NAPABA staff for their efforts.

Southern California Chinese Lawyers Association

P.O. Box 711114

Los Angeles, California 90071-1114

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