March 15, 2017

The brief, filed before a federal district court in Hawaii, argues that the government’s national security assertion is a pretext for prejudice.

Willkie is serving as lead counsel on an amicus curiae brief filed before the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii in support of the motion for a temporary restraining order to enjoin enforcement of President Trump's amended travel ban. The firm is representing T.A., a United States citizen who is Muslim, and was raised in Yemen. T.A.'s father and many members of his family are Yemeni refugees who reside in Jordan, but have Yemeni passports and so are barred from entering the United States, causing severe hardship for T.A. and his family.

The brief discusses the anti-Muslim rhetoric that preceded the President's initial ban, the most recent attempts at “dressing the Muslim ban in 'national security' garb” and argues that “... national security is more of a pretext than a reason for the Amended Order. Stripped of this pretext, the Amended Order is what it seems—a payoff on the President’s campaign promise to ban Muslims because of their purported terrorist proclivities. That is prejudice and would cause severe harms. Even assuming there was statutory authorization, the travel ban in the Amended Order is unconstitutional.”

The Willkie team is being led by Richard Bernstein, a former law clerk to United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Separately, Willkie was recently noted for its successful representation of a 12-year old Iranian national who, in the face of the initial travel ban, sought entry into the United States for an urgent and time-sensitive surgery needed to save her vision. The case, and the child’s reunion with her mother at JFK Airport, received significant media attention (click here for the CNN video clip).

In addition to Mr. Bernstein, the Willkie team handling the current matter includes Casey Donnelly, Nicole Guntner and Matthew Dollan.

Related Practice Areas