Roberts sides with liberal justices & 9th Circuit to deny Trump's asylum ban

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Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh voted in favor of letting the administration follow through with the policy immediately, even as it is challenged in lower courts.

The US administration's new rules were a key element of its policies to make it more hard for immigrants to enter and stay in the United States.

But the Justice Department's strategy of aggressively filing appeals to the Supreme Court to overturn rulings unfavorable to the President may not be in keeping with the court's modus operandi, Toobin said. The legal fight on that could return to the Supreme Court.

Judge Tigar's ruling prompted Mr Trump to call the jurist an "Obama judge" and blast the 9th Circuit in general as a "disgrace".

The Administration had asked the Supreme Court to set aside the nationwide order against that policy, arguing that the restriction was necessary to deal with "an ongoing crisis" that was said to be the result of a wave of new illegal entries along the southern border.

The Supreme Court order comes after a federal judge in a separate case took the extraordinary step this week of ordering that asylum seekers who sued after their deportation be returned to the have their claims heard anew.

The administration's policy, signed on November 9, would temporarily bar migrants who illegally cross into the United States through the southern border from seeking asylum outside of official ports of entry.

The court was closely divided, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. joining the four-member liberal wing in turning down the administration's request for a stay of a trial judge's order blocking the program.

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The asylum restrictions were made through a presidential proclamation Trump issued November 9 alongside a new administration rule.

Federal immigration law says people may apply for asylum "whether or not at a designated port of arrival" and "irrespective of such alien's status".

Last month, Roberts had rebuked Trump for his criticism of the judiciary and spoken out strongly in defense of its independence: "We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges", Roberts had said.

"After World War II and the horrors experienced by refugees who were turned away by the United States and elsewhere, Congress joined the worldwide community in adopting standards for the treatment of those fleeing persecution", lawyers with the ACLU. wrote.

Immigrants rights advocates said the president did not have the legal authority to change the law on his own.

"We are pleased the court refused to allow the administration to short-circuit the usual appellate process", Gelernt said. But the decision was later upheld by a federal appeals court in an opinion written by Republican-appointed Judge Jay Bybee.

On Nov. 19, a U.S. District Court judge blocked this order.