On Tuesday there will be a face-off, relating to the fate of President Donald Trump’s travel ban for people from seven countries that are Muslim-majority, between the U.S. Justice Department and its opponents in a federal appeal court. This is his most controversial act since he became president last month.
U.S District Judge James Robart, last Friday, suspended Trump’s travel ban, which opened a window for people to enter the country from the seven affected countries.
The arguments will be heard in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco as to whether or not to restore the ban from Justice Department lawyers and opposing attorneys for the states of Washington and Minnesota at 3 PM PST.
Trump said through a tweet on Monday night: “The radical Islamic terrorism threat is very real, take note what is happening in the Middle-East and Europe. The courts need to act fast!”
Trump said that the travel measures had been designed to protect the country against the terrorist threat. He derided Robart, appointed by Republican President George W. Bush, as a “so-called judge.”
On Monday, a brief filed by the Justice Department said that the suspension of the order by Trump was too broad and “at most” should be limited to those people who had already been granted entry to the country and those who were temporarily abroad or to those who are planning to leave and return to the United States.
According to the opponents, the 90-day ban barring entry for citizens from Libya, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, and Syria and imposing of a 120-day halt to all refugees is illegal. Washington state argues that it has suffered harm, saying that some students and faculty at state universities has been stranded overseas due to the ban.
The January 27 executive order by the Republican president sparked order protests and chaos at U.S. and foreign airports in the weekend afterwards.
All the people who carried out fatal attacks that were inspired by Islamist militancy in the U.S. after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, had been a citizen or legal residents of the U.S., according to the New America think tank. They said that none of them came to the U.S or was from a family who had emigrated from one of the listed countries in the travel ban.
Trump face an uphill battle in the San Francisco court, that is liberal-leaning. Two of the three members of the judging panel that will hear the arguments were appointments by previous Democratic Presidents Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama, and Bush appointed the other one.
Appeal courts are generally leery of upending the status quo. In this case, the lower court’s suspension of the ban.
There were a lot more filings received by the opponents of the ban in support of their position than the Justice Department. The state of Washington’s challenge was backed by about a dozen friends-of-the-court briefs that were submitted by at least 17 state attorneys general, over 100 companies, and about a dozen labor and civil rights groups. About a dozen conservative groups gave support to the government in three such briefs.
The focus by the appeals court will be on the narrow question about if the district court had grounds to put a hold on the order. The bigger legal fight over if Trump had authority to issue the order of the travel ban will be addressed later in the litigation.
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