9th Circuit Keeps Travel Ban Appeal on Track

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – The same three-judge Ninth Circuit panel that refused to reinstate President Donald Trump’s travel ban declined a Justice Department request to halt the progress of the case while Trump works on a new more constitutionally sound executive order.

“Appellants’ motion to hold this appeal in abeyance is denied,” Ninth Circuit judges William Canby, Michelle Friedland and Richard Clifton wrote Monday in a one-page order that did not elaborate on their rationale for the denial.

The government sought to press pause on briefings for the high-profile case on Friday, saying it preferred not to devote further resources to litigation in light of Trump’s intention “to rescind the order and replace it with a new, substantially revised executive order.”

Trump signed the travel ban after a week in office. It bars entry of all refugees into the United States for 120 days, halts admissions from war-torn Syria indefinitely, and bans entry by citizens of Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen for three months.

The order – which was implemented immediately – threw the nation’s airports into chaos as many legal permanent residents and green card holders were not permitted to leave the airports. The order also sparked nationwide protests, many held at the airports in question.

Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson sued the Trump administration in early February, saying the travel ban unfairly targeted Muslims. Ferguson the campaign statements of Trump and his advisers as evidence that an intent to discriminate against Muslims is behind the ban.

U.S. District Judge James Robart issued a temporary restraining order on the ban, which the Justice Department appealed immediately to the Ninth Circuit. Government attorneys argued the travel ban is an urgent matter of national security and that the president’s broad discretion pertaining to immigration and security should not be compromised.

The Ninth Circuit denied Trump’s appeal of the restraining order on Feb. 9, finding courts have the authority review actions of the Executive Branch, that Washington state had standing due to the travel ban’s potential harm to its universities, and that there is sufficient evidence for the case to move forward.

Widely expected to appeal to the Supreme Court, Trump reversed course and decided to revise and resubmit a different version of the travel ban that addressed some of the constitutional concerns that are cited in the case.

Trump was reportedly supposed to implement that executive order last week, but has since delayed it to this week.

The Ninth Circuit’s Feb. 9 order kept the case on track for briefing, and set a March 10 deadline for opening briefs.

“Despite the Trump administration’s repeated requests for delay, the courts agree with my office that this case should move forward,” Ferguson said in an email to Courthouse News.

Attorneys for the Justice Department did not return a request for comment by press time.



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