Emory joins amicus brief opposing travel ban

Sept. 20, 2017

Emory University is among 31 leading colleges and universities signing an amicus brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn President Donald Trump's executive order banning people from six Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.

The friend-of-the-court brief was filed Sept. 18. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments Oct. 10 on the travel ban.

In February, Emory President Claire E. Sterk and 47 other American college and university presidents sent a letter to Trump urging him to "rectify or rescind" his first executive order on immigration. Emory was among 17 research universities filing an amicus brief opposing that order.

After the Trump administration issued a revised order in March, Emory was among 31 colleges and universities joining a brief before the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit opposing that policy. In April, the same group of 31 universities filed a brief opposing the executive order in a case before the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

The cases from the Fourth and Ninth Circuits have now been consolidated into one case pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.

International students, faculty and scholars are "vital" to American universities, the United States and the world, according to the new brief filed with the Supreme Court.

The colleges’ and universities’ "ability to foster rich educational environments depends in part on their ability to attract students, faculty and scholars from around the globe," the brief states.

"The international members of amici's communities contribute to the vibrant campus life, world-class educational offerings and rich discoveries for which amici are known," it notes. "These individual's contributions redound to the benefit of all members of amici's campus communities, the U.S. and the world."

Broad impact

Trump's executive order covers nationals from six countries — Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — but the universities argue that its impact is much broader.

"The Order directly threatens amici's ability to attract persons not only from the six specified countries, but from around the world," the brief states. "The Order contradicts the values that American colleges and universities have traditionally touted as benefits of studying and working here, including the freedom of religion and equality embodied in the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

"Indeed, universities in other countries have used the Order to recruit international students, faculty and scholars away from U.S. institutions," the brief continues. "And large groups of scholars have threatened to boycott meetings and conferences hosted in the U.S. because of it."

Other colleges and universities signing the brief include Boston University, Brandeis University, Brown University, Bucknell University, Carnegie Mellon University, Case Western Reserve University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Duke University, George Washington University, Georgetown University, Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Middlebury College, Northeastern University, Northwestern University, Princeton University, Rice University, Stanford University, Tufts University, University of Chicago, University of Michigan, University of Pennsylvania, University of Southern California, Vanderbilt University, Washington University in St. Louis, Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Yale University.