Judges mull Japanese internment in questioning travel ban

Protesters wave signs and chant during a demonstration against President Donald Trump's revised travel ban, Monday, May 15, 2017, outside a federal courthouse in Seattle. A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Ap.

They asked an administration lawyer about what one judge called Trump's "profound" campaign statements calling for a ban on Muslims entering the United States.

Trump's attempted travel bans have caused the number of refugees coming into the U.S.to plummet in the last two months, despite his executive orders largely being blocked in the courts.

Hawaii's case, similar to Washington's, argues constitutional violations of the First Amendment's Establishment Clause that says the federal government can not prefer one religion over another. Katyal served as acting solicitor general under former President Barack Obama.

Katyal said he stands by those arguments, but that doesn't mean the president's authority is unbounded.

Speaking before the 9th Circuit judges on Monday, Neal Katyal, who represented Hawaii, also said Trump had repeatedly spoken of a Muslim ban during the campaign and after.

The judges on Monday did not indicate when they would issue their ruling in the case, which is expected to reach the Supreme Court. But the judge wondered whether Trump is forever forbidden from adopting an executive order along the lines of his travel ban.

Mr Katyal said that Congress had set rules on vetting foreigners before they enter the United States and that Mr Trump could not claim sweeping powers and take a "magic eraser" to long-standing policies.

Trump has frequently been critical of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall told a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Seattle that, in enacting his revised travel ban targeting mostly Muslim nations, that "over time, the president clarified that what he was talking about was Islamic terrorist groups and the countries that sponsor or shelter them".

Wall was referring to Trump's previous comments on Muslims, urging the judges to be objective despite what Trump may have said when he was still running for President. He argued that the executive order halting travel from six majority Muslim nations doesn't say anything about religion, and neither the state of Hawaii nor an imam from that state who wants his mother-in-law to visit has standing to sue. "How is a court to know if in fact it's a Muslim ban in the guise of national security justifications?"

"This order is aimed at aliens overseas, who themselves don't have constitutional rights", Wall said during the hearing broadcast live on C-Span and other news stations.

Arguments are underway in Seattle over whether to reinstate President Donald Trump's travel ban.

"Again, in this court, the President claims a almost limitless power to make immigration policy that is all but immune from judicial review", Hawaii Attorney General Douglas Chin wrote to the 9th Circuit.

Judge Ronald Gould says each side has been allotted 30 minutes but will be granted more if necessary, given the significance of the case.

Dozens of advocates for refugees and immigrants rallied outside the federal courthouse in Seattle, some carrying "No Ban, No Wall" signs. After clerking for U.S. Supreme Court Judge Potter Stewart from 1974 to 1975, Gould joined the prominent law firm Perkins Coie, where he remained until his appointment to the bench. Federal courts in Hawaii and Maryland earlier this year blocked Trump's revised travel ban from taking effect. Yesterday's oral argument came just one week after the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit heard oral argument in a similar challenge; in both cases, federal trial courts had blocked the government from implementing the order.

"We have not seen anything like this in our lifetime in which a president is establishing a disfavoured religion", Mr Katyal said.

That's the question before two federal appellate courts that have now heard arguments over Trump's revised travel ban and are being asked by Trump's opponents to use the president's own anti-Muslim campaign rhetoric against him.

Now, three judges from the United States 9th Circuit Court of Appeals are considering Trump's challenge of that injunction. The 4th Circuit, which is based in Richmond, heard arguments on the matter last week.

Wall went on to argue that unlike the Korematsu case, Trump's executive order probably wouldn't be questioned but for the statements he made as a candidate.

  • Leroy Wright