Late Sunday night, nearly 100 tech companies also filed an amicus, or friend of the court, brief in support of the lawsuit brought by the State of Washington and the State of Minnesota, the two plaintiffs.
“No specific derogatory factual information”
The amicus filing was authored by former Secretary of State John Kerry, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former CIA Director Michael Hayden, former National Security Advisor Susan Rice, and former CIA Director Leon Panetta, among others. It was unequivocal in its opposition. The brief argues that the executive order will “endanger US troops in the field” and “disrupt key counterterrorism, foreign policy, and national security partnerships.” The EO will also “have a devastating humanitarian impact.”
The filing continues:
The Order is of unprecedented scope. We know of no case where a President has invoked his statutory authority to suspend admission for such a broad class of people. Even after 9/11, the U.S. Government did not invoke the provisions of law cited by the Administration to broadly bar entrants based on nationality, national origin, or religious affiliation. In past cases, suspensions were limited to particular individuals or subclasses of nationals who posed a specific, articulable threat based on their known actions and affiliations. In adopting this Order, the Administration alleges no specific derogatory factual information about any particular recipient of a visa or green card or any vetting step omitted by current procedures.
A few former officials from President George W. Bush’s administration have also publicly spoken out as well, although none have yet participated in formal court filings.
John Yoo, the former member of the White House’s Office of Legal Counsel from 2001 to 2003 who is well-known in legal circles for his expansionary view of executive power and the so-called Torture Memos, wrote a Monday oped in the New York Times on the order. It was titled “Executive Power Run Amok.”
One of Yoo’s colleagues—Jack Goldsmith, an assistant attorney general in the OLC from 2003 to 2004 who now teaches at Harvard Law School—has expressed bafflement as well.
In a post on Lawfare, Goldsmith wrote, “I’m starting to believe that either Donald Trump wants courts to strike down the Immigration Executive order or that his White House Counsel is incompetent or ineffectual.”