President Trump’s Muslim ban was being defended in front of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals again Monday, and by the time the three-judge panel had finished hearing arguments, it was looking as though the executive order would once again fail due to the president’s own candid remarks about its intent on the campaign trail.
Hawaii-based U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson, in March, placed a hold on Trump’s plan to temporarily suspend immigration from the six majority-Muslim countries – Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen – striking another legal blow against the president’s attempts to institute a travel ban.
“The benefit of that standard … is it doesn’t call on courts to make these sorts of determinations, the second-guessing of national security determinations that they’re sort of ill-equipped to do, Wall said”.
The administration’s lawyer, acting U.S. Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall, argued that the key provisions in the revised executive order do not mention religion, and that some of Trump’s statements about immigration restrictions during his presidential campaign did not target Muslims broadly.
Last week, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments over a Maryland judge’s decision to freeze the ban.
They peppered Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall with questions about whether they could consider Trump’s campaign statements calling for a ban on Muslims entering the US, with one judge asking if there was anything other than “willful blindness” that would prevent them from doing so.
Wall told the judges that they need only determine whether there was a “rational basis” for the president’s travel ban, a lower bar of scrutiny than for an executive order impacting constitutionally protected rights such as freedom of religion. The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to eventually take up the issue.
Katyal responded that is “the million-dollar question”, and said Hawaii is not impugning what is in Trump’s head – only asking the judges to decide how a viewer would view whether the ban violates the religious protections in the First Amendment of the Constitution. The arguments took place in Seattle one week after the Fourth Circuit in Richmond heard arguments in a similar case.
Katyal, who served as acting solicitor general under former President Barack Obama, also argued that the judges have to perform no “psychoanalysis” of Trump to see that “this is a repeated pattern of the president”.
In 2012. Hawkins joined Judge Stephen Reinhardt’s majority ruling striking down California’s gay marriage ban. Has he ever stood up and said, I said before I wanted to ban all members of the Islamic faith from entering the United States of America, I was wrong, I’m now addressing it simply to security needs?
The court is hearing the case on an expedited schedule but did not indicate when it will rule.
People protest President Donald Trump’s travel ban outside of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Seattle, Washington.
Federal judges temporarily blocked the ban after several states argued that it discriminated against Muslims.
Attorney Neal Katyal argues the case for Hawaii before a panel of federal appeals judges.
Trump immediately slammed the decision as “an unprecedented judicial overreach” and later tweeted about his frustrations with the West Coast-based 9th Circuit over an unrelated case.
Wall said that yes, Trump has disavowed certain statements.
“I want to be very clear about this”, Wall said solemnly.
And even today, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was asked if the president would repudiate his campaign rhetoric now.
Now, three judges from the USA 9th Circuit Court of Appeals are considering Trump’s challenge of that injunction.
He added toward the end of the hearing that the case’s circumstances were unique because of Trump’s statements before and after taking office.
Don’t think that will escape the Supreme Court’s notice if it gets to that level, by which time the 90-day pause should have concluded for the rewritten EO, too.
“If you rule for us, you preserve the status quo”, Katyal said.