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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Ind. Courts - "Indiana Ban on Syrian Refugees Draws Mockery From 7th Circuit"

Here is Jack Bouboushian of Courthouse News in a long, must-read report on this morning's oral argument in Exodus Refugee Immigration, Inc. v. Pence, et al. It begins:

CHICAGO (CN) — Sketching out certain defeat for Indiana's policy against Syrian refugee resettlement, the Seventh Circuit's most outspoken jurists rained a tag-team of rhetorical blows down on the state's attorney Wednesday morning.

Solicitor General Thomas Fisher provoked outrage from the federal appeals court in his attempt to justify Indiana's actions.

Setting the tone for the day, U.S. Circuit Judge Richard Posner jumped in immediately as Fisher cited a supposed statement of the FBI director that the U.S. government lacks intelligence on Syrians because there has not been a large-scale military intervention into the country.

"Aren't all these people screened by the State Department," Posner asked. "You don't trust the State Department? Will you do better?"

Fisher repeatedly returned to the FBI's statement only to be shouted down alternately by Posner and U.S. Circuit Judge Frank Easterbrook.

"What difference does it make what the FBI says," Easterbrook asked. "In an amicus brief, the United States says Indiana has exceeded its authority."

Easterbrook scoffed at Fisher's replies. "When a state targets a policy against people from Syria and says it has nothing to do with national origin, it produces nothing but a broad smile," the judge said.

Fisher tried to emphasize that the policy concerns resettlement only. "If we were actually preventing people from entering the state," he said, "that would be different."

Easterbrook was not convinced, however, saying states cannot selectively apply federal program funds. Either they opt in to the program or they do not, he said.

Fisher stumbled for a minute before settling on "no" when Easterbrook asked if there was any language in the Refugee Act that he was relying on.

This simple answer brought Posner back into the ring. "Are Syrians the only Muslims Indiana fears?"

Fisher halfheartedly replied: "This has nothing to do with religion."

Here is a list of other ILB posts on the appeal.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on September 14, 2016 03:21 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions