SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – The Justice Department on Friday asked the Ninth Circuit to put all proceedings on hold while the Trump administration prepares a new travel ban, a request the states fighting the ban promptly opposed.
While the Ninth Circuit has already pressed pause on whether to reconsider en banc its initial order that refused to reinstate President Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban, the Justice Department’s request involves stalling all proceedings in the case.
In its motion, the government noted that part of the court’s Feb. 9 decision put forth a briefing schedule for the appeal, with the first brief due March 3. But the court’s decision on Feb. 16 to pause en banc rehearing did not mention the briefing schedule.
“Although the court’s Feb. 16 order did not specifically address the earlier order setting a briefing schedule, the stay of en banc proceedings reflects the appropriateness of awaiting further developments before committing further resources of the parties or the court to appellate litigation,” the Justice Department said in its motion.
Hours later, Washington state filed its response opposing efforts to delay the appeal.
“Although defendants contend that this case presents urgent national security issues, they now request indefinite delay of the Ninth Circuit proceedings,” the state said in response. “There is no justification for delay of the briefing schedule.”
Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson also jabbed at Trump personally in an email sent to Courthouse News.
“Despite tweeting, ‘SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!’ President Trump continues to seek delay after delay in these legal proceedings,” Ferguson wrote.
Ferguson said asking the court to pause its en banc rehearing while Trump reconfigured and resubmitted his executive order to address constitutional concerns was tantamount to a concession that the travel ban as originally written was unconstitutional.
“President Trump could have sought review of this flawed order in the Supreme Court, but declined to face yet another defeat,” Ferguson said in a statement.
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.
Also on Friday, the Associated Press obtained a document written by analysts at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that disputes the rationale behind Trump’s travel ban which says “citizenship is likely an unreliable indicator of terrorist threat to the United States.”
As part of the amicus briefs in the Ninth Circuit case, several former highly ranked security officials signed a declaration that insisted the travel ban would not only fail to make the nation safer, but would put it in greater danger.
Trump has continued to insist the travel ban is necessary for national security, and the Justice Department has argued the federal courts inappropriately preempted Trump’s broad discretion when it comes to the nexus between immigration and national security.
Washington state originally sued in early February, saying the travel ban represented discrimination against Muslims and used the statements of Trump and his advisers that referred to preventing Muslims entry into the United States as evidence.
Trump was initially expected to release his revamped executive order this week, but now says it may issue next week instead.
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