Tech Giants Fight Donald Trump's Immigration Ban at Appeals Court

The Justice Department might still try to persuade a larger panel of judges on the 9th Circuit to grant its emergency motion to "stay" (i.e., stop) US District Court Judge James Robart's temporary restraining order suspending key provisions of the travel ban.

Trump's unheralded move just a week into his presidency threw American global airports and Homeland Security enforcers off-balance as they scrambled to cut off immigrants, visa-holders and refugees traveling to the US from seven Muslim-majority countries.

The former officials filed the same "joint declaration" in the San Francisco case, in which a three-judge panel on Thursday refused Trump's request to reinstate the ban, which has been put on hold amid a flurry of legal challenges.

Stuart Rafaeli argues on behalf of the Commonwealth before Judge Brinkema in Aziz v. Trump in Alexandria, Virginia on February 10, 2017.

"The fact is they've lost the case in the most liberal circuit in the country, they've lost it at the district level and for now the Supreme Court is deadlocked", said Krauthammer. They ended up in Ethiopia.

The government ultimately allowed the brothers to return to the United States. But the state of Virginia joined the challenge, and is now the main litigant. Lawyers representing the state cite the ban's impact on its colleges, universities, students, professors and researchers. "I would strongly urge him to consider the latter course of action", Bob Ferguson, Washington State's Attorney General told reporters.

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California promised, "Democrats will continue to press for President Trump's unsafe and unconstitutional ban to be withdrawn".

Image North Korean missile launch
South Koreans watch Sunday as television news broadcasts reports that North Korea has test-fired an unidentified ballistic missile. Kim Hee Chul EPA

The ban, which Trump signed as an executive order January 27, is facing challenges in two dozen or so cases pending in courthouses around the country. Trump has vowed to keep fighting, an effort that could culminate at the U.S. Supreme Court.

If President Trump does take it all the way to the Supreme Court and the eight judges there all vote along ideological lines the result would be a tie: four for and four against, and in that scenario the appeal court ruling stands and Trump would lose. But the hearing appeared to show that she was leaning in a similar direction as the West Coast judges.

The appeals court directed the Justice Department and the states challenging the executive order, Washington and Minnesota, to file simultaneous briefs by February 16 on whether rehearing en banc is appropriate.

Robart has ordered the Justice Department and the states to submit a joint status report by 3 a.m. ET Monday that sets forth a plan moving forward while the appeal is pending the Ninth Circuit.

Although the Ninth Circuit acknowledged that all the parties will still bring forth additional evidence, the court found that the government is not likely to prevail in its appeal, and acknowledged that it is the travelers and refugees seeking entry to this country-not the government-that risks irreparable injury if the president's order were enforced.

Trump's order, which he called a national security measure meant to head off attacks by Islamist militants, barred people from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering for 90 days and all refugees for 120 days, except refugees from Syria, who are banned indefinitely.

  • Leroy Wright