Georgetown University joined 30 other U.S. universities on an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court calling for the invalidation of President Donald Trump’s second executive order restricting travel from six predominantly Muslim countries.
The Sept. 18 amicus brief is the second signed by Georgetown that relates to the Jan. 27 order. Georgetown previously filed a brief to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on Apr. 20. The court ruled in May to keep the travel ban on hold after refugee rights organizations and others argued it was discriminatory and unconstitutional.
Taking all considerations into account, the brief called on the Supreme Court to strike down the executive order.
“The Order falls far short of justifying its ban on individuals from the specified countries,” the brief concluded. “Even in its more limited form, the Order harms American colleges and universities and should be invalidated.”
However, on June 26 the Supreme Court upheld some of the executive order’s restrictions while granting entry to people with “bona fide personal relationships” to U.S. residents, and will begin to hear arguments again beginning on Oct. 10.
Under the status of amici — a group that is invested in the case but is not a party to it — the institutions condemned the order, saying that international students, faculty and scholars make vital contributions to their campuses, to the United States and to the world.
“American colleges and universities have long recognized the importance of attracting international students, faculty, staff, and scholars,” the brief read. “Their work leads to critical advancements across all disciplines, from science and technology to arts and letters, often through cross-border collaborations that enhance their teaching and research.”
By using their educations to benefit foreign countries and communities, international students have contributed to growth across the world, the brief argued.
“International students study here and return home as leaders in business, medicine, politics, and other fields. The benefits of international diversity in American higher education thus inure not only to colleges and universities themselves, but to the country and indeed the world as a whole.”
Throughout the brief, the group further made the case that the executive order undercut their outreach efforts and their institutional values.
“The Order directly threatens amici’s ability to attract persons not only from the six specified countries, but from around the world,” the brief read. “The Order contradicts the values that American colleges and universities have traditionally touted as benefits of studying and working here, including the freedom of religion and equality embodied in the First and Fourteenth Amendments.”
Referring to Georgetown in particular, the brief appealed to the university’s Jesuit identity and values while affirming its commitment to diversity.
“Since its founding, Georgetown University has been a global community, engaged in training future generations of global
citizens to lead and make a difference in the world, and is made stronger by religious, cultural and international diversity,” the brief read.
The brief highlighted the university’s alumni, including Prime Minister of Lebanon Saad Hariri (MSB ’92) and former Deputy Prime Minister of Jordan Nasser Judeh (SFS ’83), to further the case for accepting international students who would move on to become leaders and major contributors to the world.
The 30 schools argued that they have already been adversely affected by the order, saying some international students turned down their offers of admission out of concern for their safety.
They argued that loosening the ban by permitting entry to people with personal connections inside the United States was too vague a remedy to sufficiently compensate for the proposed legislation’s damages.
“This line has not resolved the uncertainty the Order injected into amici’s engagement with international students, faculty, and scholars, who are left to wonder at what point their relationship with amici becomes ‘bona fide,’” the brief read.
University President John J. DeGioia made Georgetown’s position towards the order clear Jan. 29, when President Trump had released the first version of the executive order. DeGioia said Georgetown aimed to provide a space where people from all backgrounds could engage with each other freely.
“We are an institution that values the contributions of our international students, staff and faculty, and we are deeply committed to interreligious dialogue and providing a context in which members of all faith backgrounds are welcomed and encouraged to practice their faith,” DeGioia said.