The White House’s efforts to get US president Donald Trump’s travel ban reinstated has been dealt a preliminary blow by a federal appeals court.
Two judges in San Francisco denied the government’s emergency motion to lift the temporary injunction ordered on Feb. 3 by judge James Robart in Seattle. A reply from the Trump administration is now due on Monday (Feb. 6). For now, citizens from seven majority-Muslim countries, as well as vetted refugees approved for resettlement, are allowed into the US.
Trump lashed out against the Seattle court’s decision this weekend, referring to Robart as a “so-called judge” and calling his opinion “ridiculous.”
A more restrained argument put before the 9th Circuit Court in San Francisco on Feb. 4 came from lawyers at the US Department of Justice, who claimed that the injunction “contravenes the constitutional separation of powers; harms the public by thwarting enforcement of an Executive Order issued by the nation’s elected representative responsible for immigration matters and foreign affairs; and second-guesses the President’s national security judgment about the quantum of risk posed by the admission of certain classes of aliens and the best means of minimizing that risk.”
The judges denied the DOJ’s request for an immediate restoration of the executive order.
Further appeal potentially could be taken to the US Supreme Court, though it would take five votes to overturn the panel decision. Right now the high court is evenly split with four liberal and four conservative members, and one seat still vacant since the death last year of justice Antonin Scalia.
Trump was confident he’d prevail, telling reporters Saturday night at a Red Cross benefit at Mar-a-Lago “we’ll win.” He’s yet to comment on the 9th Circuit Court’s decision.