9th Circuit Court of Appeals Hears Travel Ban Arguments, Voices Skepticism, Plans Quick Ruling

By Paul Riegler on 7 February 2017
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The case will likely reach the Supreme Court

The case will likely reach the Supreme Court

The three judges of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments from the Justice Department defending President Donald Trump’s “Foreign Terrorist Entry” executive order Tuesday but their comments and questions made it clear they were skeptical over the government’s assertions calling for the ban to be reinstated.

The hearing was conducted telephonically, not in a courtroom, and was streamed live on the court’s website.

The judges sharply questioned DOJ lawyers as well as lawyers from the states of Washington and Minnesota in considering a ruling by Judge James Robart of the Federal District Court, which stayed the executive order that had barred travelers and immigrants from Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.

Attorneys for the two states argued that the temporary restraining order that stayed the ban late Friday should remain in place because the president had “unleashed chaos” by signing the order.

The judges appeared to voice great skepticism over the Trump Administration’s arguments.

“Are you arguing, then, that the president’s decision in that regard is unreviewable?” asked Judge Michelle T. Friedland during the hearing.

August E. Flenje, representing the DOJ, paused and then said “yes.”

In a statement issued prior to today’s hearing, the court said that “a ruling was not expected to come down today, but probably this week.” Regardless of the outcome, the losing party is highly likely to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court. Given that there are currently only eight justices on the bench, the court could deadlock and leave the appeal court’s ruling in place.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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