Vanderbilt University took part in signing an amicus brief including 30 universities to encourage the Supreme Court to strike down President Donald Trump’s January executive order banning immigrants and refugees from six majority-Muslim nations from the U.S.
Vanderbilt also filed an amicus brief in February urging that the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington’s stay of the order be upheld.
“World class academics and cutting edge research critically rely on campus environments that are welcoming and rich in their diversity of viewpoints,” Chancellor Nicholas Zeppos said in a press release announcing Vanderbilt’s participation in the brief. “At Vanderbilt, we’re making that environment a reality – this travel ban would hamper those efforts here and across the country. It is vital to this nation’s future that we continue to recognize the strength and value of embracing diversity and inclusion.”
In addition to laying out fears for the future, the brief discusses the negative effects the travel ban has already had on some of the signatory universities, including hesitance from international applicants and students to carry out their studies in the United States for fear of changes in their legal status and their safety.
The Supreme Court will hear arguments on Trump’s travel ban Oct. 10 as the next step in the legal battle over its constitutionality.
The universities that have signed onto the brief include Boston, Brandeis, Brown, Bucknell, Carnegie Mellon, Case Western Reserve, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Duke, Emory, George Washington, Georgetown, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, MIT, Middlebury, Northeastern, Northwestern, Princeton, Rice, Stanford, Tufts, The University of Chicago, The University of Michigan, The University of Pennsylvania, The University of Southern California, Washington University in St. Louis, Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Yale.
An amicus curiae brief is Latin for “friend of the court,” and is filed by parties who are not part of the litigation, but who have a vested interest in the outcome of a case. The court uses amicus brief to consider relevant views of those who are affected by the outcome of litigation. Vanderbilt’s views are considered relevant, as a university whose undergraduate and graduate populations are made up of 7.6% and 23.3% international students, respectively.
As they did with the brief filed in February, The Vanderbilt Office of General Counsel worked with its counterparts at peer universities as well as the law firm Jenner & Block to collaborate in writing, editing and submitting the brief.
The signing of the brief is one of the university’s many actions in opposition to the travel ban. A more exhaustive description of these actions as well as information related to immigration and refugees is available on the Office of the Provost’s website.
Read the full brief here: