AUSTIN – Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has been part of coalitions three times this year that filed friend of the court briefs in federal courts in support of President Donald Trump's executive order, or proclamation, enforcing a travel plan on some nations.
Travel restrictions in Trump's executive order curtailed travel by foreign nationals into the U.S. based on nationality, rather than religion, according to the most recent friend of the court brief in which Paxton participated.
"The Proclamation’s suspension of entry by certain nationals from eight countries neither mentions any religion nor depends on whether affected aliens are Muslim," said the friend of the court brief, filed Nov. 3 with the 4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.
"The proclamation therefore is emphatically not a 'Muslim ban.' The proclamation includes two non-majority-Muslim countries (North Korea and Venezuela), and excludes two majority-Muslim countries (Iraq and Sudan) that were covered by the president’s previous entry suspensions."
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton
Paxton joined in that friend of the court brief with 14 other state attorneys general and the Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant.
"The Trump administration’s latest travel ban is a lawful exercise of statutorily authorized executive power over foreign affairs and national security, and a reasonable response to the ongoing threat of terrorism in our country," Paxton was quoted in a press release. "The president is fulfilling his solemn duty to protect Texans and all Americans."
The amicus brief in the 4th Circuit was filed about a couple of weeks after federal judges in Maryland and Hawaii blocked President Trump's latest travel ban from taking effect. Soon after, the U.S. Justice Department filed its notice of appeal with the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
The November friend of the court brief, also called an "amicus brief," marked the third time this year that Paxton participated in such a filing.
In March, Paxton was one of 12 state attorneys general and Mississippi's governor who filed an amicus brief with the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in support of President Trump’s revised executive order on immigration, according to a press release then issued by the Texas Attorney General's Office.
"The revised order concerns the national refugee program and calls for a temporary pause on entering this country for nationals from six countries of national-security concern," that press release said.
That amicus brief was filed about a month after a three-judge panel on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court ruling that blocked Trump's original order. Other attorneys general who participated in that amicus brief were from Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota and West Virginia
In June, Paxton was part of a coalition from 16 states made up of 14 other states attorney general and the governor of Mississippi who filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of President Trump’s travel ban executive order, according to a press release issued that month by Paxton's office. Attorneys general who participated in the June amicus brief were from Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and West Virginia.