Supreme Court could be a win-win for Trump

Dorota Gozdecka

An international law researcher at The Australian National University (ANU) believes US President Donald Trump's executive order into travel restrictions will likely end up before the US Supreme Court, where it could be a win-win situation for President Trump.

On Monday a panel of migration law, refugee law and anti-discrimination law experts will evaluate the international impact of Donald Trump's recent policies.

Event organiser and international law researcher Dr Dorota Gozdecka said following a US federal appeals court unanimously upholding a temporary suspension of President Donald Trump's travel restrictions, the case appeared destined for the Supreme Court.

"The Supreme Court is going to have to have its say," Dr Gozdecka said.

"It will be a win-win situation for President Trump. If the Supreme Court agrees with him he gets what he wanted. If the judges disagree he will have more ammunition to undermine the legitimacy of the judicial system."

Dr Gozdecka said President Trump's willingness to attack the US judicial system was a major concern, citing his use of the term "so-called judge" in a tweet referring to US District Judge James L. Robart.

"It's extremely concerning that Trump is trying to get around the law. He is undermining the authority of judges to decide cases," she said.

"If he continues to denigrate the judiciary, the legal consequences may be serious including challenges to the enshrined system of civil rights and liberties.

Further complicating the matter, the case could be one of the first for President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch.

"If this latest nomination goes through and the new judge sits on the Supreme Court before this case ends up there, we can't be certain of how that's going to play out."

Dr Gozdecka said the case could have further implications for Australia.

"A lot of this can creep over into Australia. We've already had Peter Dutton suggesting a system similar to Donald Trump's, particularly for reviewing and revalidating visas of foreign nationals," she said.

"A climate of insecurity is spreading, and it makes it easier to pass laws that might suddenly seem needed, despite a range of processes that already exist

"The growing use of criminal-like measures against migrants, such as offshore detention, has been controversial for a while. In this climate a range of harsh measures may be presented as necessary, leaving migrants without legal means to challenge decisions about their lives."

The panel discussion, The explosive President: Donald Trump's migration policy and its impact on international law and non-discrimination principles, will be held 5:30pm Monday 13 February at the ANU Law Theatre, Fellows Road, ANU.

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Updated:  10 August 2015/Responsible Officer:  College General Manager, ANU College of Law/Page Contact:  Law Marketing Team