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Special Event

Elian's Miami Relatives File Apeal to U.S. Supreme Court

Aired June 26, 2000 - 5:44 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

BERNARD SHAW, CNN ANCHOR: Now to Miami, where the relatives of Elian Gonzalez are holding a news conference.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

COFFEY: ... to the Supreme Court of the United States requesting that our nation's highest court consider the cause of Elian Gonzalez. This is a matter of momentous importance, not only to this child, to this community, but also literally to hundreds of thousands of refugees who seek admission in this country.

And because of the grave importance of this issue, as well as the tremendous concerns about the grave and irretrievable consequences of removal of Elian Gonzalez to Cuba, through an expedited effort we are seeking Supreme Court review.

Normally, as some of you may know, a Supreme Court certiorari petition is filed 90 days after an order becomes final. In this instance, the certiorari petition was filed today, literally one business day after the denial of re-hearing by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeal. At the same time of the filing, we have presented to the circuit justice, Kennedy, a request for a continuation of the injunction that would keep Elian Gonzalez in this country and a dramatically accelerated briefing schedule for the threshold question of whether the United States Supreme Court should take certiorari and accept jurisdiction of this historic case.

We have requested that the government's response be filed on July 5, that the reply on behalf of Elian Gonzalez be submitted two days later, and that the Supreme Court itself be in a position to proceed to consider whether it will accept this case on a very, very fast time table.

And I want to emphasize, because everyone in this room is deeply familiar with the issues -- the human issues, the factual issues, the tragic issues of this extraordinary case, but what is less obvious to many are the dramatic ramifications for thousands of refugee children around this country...

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: We can't hear you again.

COFFEY: ... and for tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands.

Let me then step back to the microphone.

But what I want to explain to you is how important this issue is to this entire country.

The Constitution of the United States is supposed to see one America, not two different America's depending upon what state soil you stand on. In this case, the decision of the 11th Circuit, according to our analysis, which denies the due process right to seek asylum, stands by itself. There is one other circuit, the 1st Circuit, that has indicated a tendency toward the 11th Circuit's view that denies any constitutional recognition to an alien's right to seek asylum.

On the other hand, the overwhelming weight of federal appellate decisions around this country would have given Elian Gonzalez an absolute constitutional right to an asylum hearing five months ago.

And we have, to illustrate the point, listed the circuits, and these are the same circuits that are set forth in the papers filed with the Supreme Court today, that we believe have clearly said there is such a constitutional right, and may include some of the most distinguished courts in this country: the 2nd Circuit, the 3rd Circuit, the 4th, which many consider to be one of the nation's most conservative circuits as recently as last year declared...

SHAW: The family trying an 11th hour legal effort to keep the young boy in the United States.

INSIDE POLITICS will be right back.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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