Debevoise, in Collaboration with DLA Piper and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, Submits Amicus Brief on Behalf of the International Bar Association in Pending Travel Ban Cases

5 December 2017

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, in collaboration with DLA Piper and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, has submitted amicus briefs on behalf of the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (“IBAHRI”) in the pending travel ban cases before the Fourth and Ninth Circuits.

Prompted by the comments of President Donald Trump and other U.S. Executive Branch officials questioning the validity of judicial rulings and denigrating the motives and integrity of U.S. federal judges, the IBAHRI filed amicus briefs in support of plaintiffs-appellees in the Ninth Circuit case of Hawaii v. Trump and the Fourth Circuit case of International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) v. Trump. In both cases, federal judges had issued partial injunctions blocking key provisions of President Donald Trump’s controversial Proclamation 9645, the successor to prior travel ban executive orders. The IBAHRI urged the courts to consider international law principles regarding judicial independence and due process rights of refugees in assessing the travel ban.

Debevoise partner David W. Rivkin, Immediate Past President of the International Bar Association and a signatory of the briefs, commented: “By threatening the core principle of an independent judiciary, and seemingly issuing veiled threats, the rule of law is severely undermined. Such actions have the potential to influence future rulings, with the cumulative impact giving an appearance of attempted political interference or intimidation. This, in turn, would most likely dent public confidence in the entire judicial system. One cannot underestimate the importance to democracy of individual judges, and the judiciary as a whole being, and being seen to be, impartial and independent of all external pressures. I was pleased to join in this effort by the IBAHRI to reaffirm the importance of judicial independence so that the public has confidence that cases will be decided fairly and in accordance with the law.”

Further, the IBAHRI’s amicus briefs address the Proclamation’s impact on the due process rights of refugees. International law agreements and federal law commit the United States to providing due process protections to refugees within its borders, and prohibit the United States from discrimination against refugees on the basis of national origin or religion. By placing a blanket ban on all aliens from certain countries, the Proclamation effectively violates these commitments.

The IBAHRI is the human rights arm of the International Bar Association, the world’s leading organization of international legal practitioners, bar associations, and law societies with a membership of more than 80,000 individual lawyers spanning over 160 counties.

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