White House seeks stay in Mich. travel ban memo lawsuit

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

The White House is asking a federal judge to delay a Michigan lawsuit until the U.S. Supreme Court can review appeals court decisions on the president’s controversial travel ban.

On Wednesday, U.S. Department of Justice attorneys requested a stay in the Michigan lawsuit that seeks to force the Trump administration to turn over a memo from former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and other advisers who helped develop Trump’s “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” Executive Order.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, the Arab American Civil Rights League and others filed the lawsuit last week Friday in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

“Defendants respectfully seek a stay of the proceedings in this case pending the Supreme Court’s likely consideration of the Fourth Circuit’s decision in a substantially similar challenge to (the) Executive Order ...,” justice department attorneys wrote in their motion. The decision they referred to is the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling Thursday to uphold a block on the travel ban.

On March 6, Trump signed an executive order that suspended the U.S. refugee program and temporarily banned travel from the predominantly Muslim nations of Syria, Iran, Somalia, Yemen, Libya and Sudan. It was the second such executive order Trump signed since taking office — the first was signed Jan. 27 and later scrapped.

The travel ban sparked a flurry of legal challenges with lawsuits filed in Hawaii, Maryland and the state of Washington.

Earlier this month, a federal judge in Detroit ordered the Trump administration to produce documents related to drafting his travel ban, including a memo from Giuliani and others asked to help develop the plan.

The judge gave the administration a May 19 deadline to turn over the Giuliani memo and until June 2 to turn over the rest of the documents.

After the White House missed the deadline for the Giuliani memo, the ACLU asked a federal judge to compel Trump’s staff to give it the document.

In response, attorneys for U.S. Department of Justice asked the federal district court for a stay in the proceedings.

They also asked for an extension of the June 2 deadline.

“If the court is not inclined to stay these proceedings, defendants alternatively request a two-week extension of the June 2, 2017, deadline to respond to plaintiff’s remaining pending discovery requests, or an extension until the after the court has acted on plaintiffs’ pending motion to compel.”