9th Circuit Court Rules That Travel Ban Will Remain Suspended for Now

A federal appeals court on Sunday ruled that President Trump’s controversial immigration order will remain suspended for the time being, allowing those previously banned from coming to the United States at least another day to get here.

The decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit preserves a lower judge’s order to temporarily halt the ban — and based on a schedule the court outlined, the stop will remain in place at least until sometime on Monday. The Justice Department said it would not elevate the dispute to the Supreme Court before that.

Trump responded to the development Sunday by writing on Twitter that he had “instructed Homeland Security to check people coming into our country VERY CAREFULLY.” A Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman did not immediately return messages seeking comment on how, practically, that screening would be implemented.

“Just cannot believe a judge would put our country in such peril,” Trump wrote. “If something happens blame him and court system. People pouring in. Bad!”

The next few days will be telling for the future of the president’s executive order. The appeals court asked those challenging the ban to file written arguments by 3 a.m. Eastern on Monday, and Justice Department lawyers to reply by 6 p.m. Eastern. They could then schedule a hearing, or rule whether the ban should remain on hold.

In the meantime, people who had been stranded in legal limbo rushed to fly back to the United States. Some successfully reunited with family members, while others — particularly those whose visas were physically taken or marked as invalid — ran into road blocks trying to board planes overseas. At Dulles International Airport in Virginia on Sunday, immigration lawyers could be heard on phones, arguing with airline representatives to let their passengers board as some seemed confused over the various court rulings and what they meant.

What ultimately lies ahead likely is a weeks-long legal battle that will be waged in various courtrooms across the country over whether Trump’s ban can pass legal muster. Federal courts in New York, California and elsewhere have blocked aspects of the ban from being implemented, though one federal judge in Massachusetts declared he did not think challengers had demonstrated they had a high likelihood of success. The lawsuits now stretch from D.C. to Hawaii, and the number seems to grow regularly.

The Trump administration has been steadfast in its support of the executive order, which it says is necessary for national security reasons, and the president himself tweeted repeatedly his disdain for the judge in Washington state who put a stop to it.

“The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!” Trump wrote Saturday.

Vice President Mike Pence said Sunday on Meet The Press that White House officials felt Trump was “operating within his authority as president, both under the constitution, and under clear statutory law.” Legal analysts have said the president does have broad authority to set immigration policy, though civil liberties advocates have countered that the order essentially amounts to a discriminatory ban on Muslims with no real national security purpose.

“We’re very confident that we’re going to prevail,” Pence said. “We’ll accomplish the stay and will win the case on the merits. But again, the focus here is on the safety and security of the American people.”

On Sunday morning television talk shows, some Republicans in Congress took issue with comments by the president, particularly his description of U.S. District Judge James L. Robart as a “so-called judge.”

“I’ll be honest, I don’t understand language like that,” said Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) “We don’t have so-called judges, we don’t have so-called senators, we don’t have so-called presidents. We have people from three different branches of government who take an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution… So, we don’t have any so-called judges, we have real judges.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said, “We all get disappointed from time to time at the outcome in courts on things that we care about. But I think it is best to avoid criticizing judges individually.”

McConnell went on to offer a broader critique of Trump’s executive order than he had previously: “We all want to try to keep terrorists out of the United States. But we can’t shut down travel. We certainly don’t want Muslim allies who have fought with us in countries overseas to not be able to travel to the United States. We need to be careful about this.”

Several federal judges have ruled against the administration on its implementation of the ban, though the case now before the 9th Circuit is perhaps the most significant one. It stems from a lawsuit brought by the states of Washington and Minnesota, which alleged the immigration order was “separating families, harming thousands of the States’ residents, damaging the States’ economies, hurting State-based companies, and undermining both States’ sovereign interest in remaining a welcoming place for immigrants and refugees.”

Responding to those arguments, Robart temporarily halted the ban on Friday. Then, 9th Circuit Judges William C. Canby Jr., who was appointed by Jimmy Carter, and Michelle Taryn Friedland, who was appointed by Barack Obama, denied the Justice Department’s request on Sunday to immediately restore it.

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Source: Washington Post