President Trump’s Executive Orders and Supreme Court Picks

In his first full week as President, Donald Trump has signed several executive orders, including an immigration ban that temporarily halts movement into the United States from several European countries, suspends the admission of refugees into the country for four months, and suspends entry of Syrian refugees completely. Constitutional attorney Paul Cambria spoke to WBEN about this executive order, as well as about President Trump’s potential Supreme Court nominee, who is expected to be announced Tuesday night. The full interview is available on the WBEN website.

Court should be able to decide legality

When asked if the immigration ban would hold up in court, Mr. Cambria brought up former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, who was recently asked to step down from the position after instructing Justice Department lawyers not to make legal arguments defending the executive order. “It seems to me that, once again, we’re in a political situation,” Mr. Cambria said. “Usually, the Attorney General defends the President and the actions of the Administration. And it seems to me that this is cloudy enough that it’s still, as they say, justiciable.”

“In other words,” Mr. Cambria explained, “there is an issue. It could be decided [and] could be debated [that] the President supposedly has the power with regard to immigration, when there’s a chance of national security being jeopardized, that he has such power. That needs to be interpreted and, it seems to me, she should have gone forward and let the courts make the decision as opposed to the lawyers making the decision for each of the competing sides.”

“Uncharted legal territory”

WBEN asked Mr. Cambria if this is “uncharted legal territory”. “Totally. There’s no doubt about it,” he responded. “If we were not, you would have heard all the pundits talking about precedent and cases decided in the past and so on. We haven’t heard any of that. So this really is an issue that needs to be decided.”

WBEN pointed out that the travel ban is supposed to be in effect for 90 days. When asked if it would be possible for the courts to reach a decision about the ban in that length of time, Mr. Cambria responded, “We do have emergency motions [and] expedited proceedings. You have to apply for it in the courts and it seems to me that they would do that immediately.”

“I wouldn’t be surprised if today or tomorrow there’s some emergency application made,” he continued.

Potential Supreme Court nominees

Mr. Cambria was then asked what he knew of Neil Gorsuch and Thomas Hardiman, the two names mentioned most as President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee. “Hardiman is an interesting choice,” he responded, “because Donald Trump’s sister serves on the same court that he does, which is the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. He, also, is a very staunch Second Amendment person. He’s not written on Roe v. Wade.”

“On the other hand,” Mr. Cambria continued, “the third person they’ve talked about is [William] Pryor, who, of course, would be deaf on Roe v. Wade. He’s already expressed himself in that area. But I think Hardiman is an interesting choice. The President has the advantage of his sister knowing and working with this person, plus [he’s] a strong Second Amendment person, so he might be the choice.”

About Paul J. Cambria, Jr.

The chair of Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria’s Criminal Defense Trials and Appeals Practice Area, Mr. Cambria advises clients on criminal trials, criminal appeals, constitutional and First Amendment law, zoning and land use, antitrust, and professional licensing defense. He divides his time between the firm’s offices in Buffalo and Los Angeles.