Appeals court upholds stay of Trump visa order
A federal appeals court has denied an emergency request from the Justice Department to lift the stay on enforcing President Trump's executive order denying visas to travelers from 7 Muslim countries.
The court refused to rule on the merits of the case - only denying the government's contention that the stay issued by a federal judge on Friday required an emergency ruling. The court requested briefs from both sides before making a final decision.
The case faces an uncertain future despite the solid legal ground outlined by DoJ in its request to allow the visa ban to resume.
The strongly-worded filing by the Department of Justice argued that blocking the travel ban "harms the public" and "second-guesses the President's national security judgment."
The government's emergency motion lodged a mutli-pronged attack on Robart's decision, emphasizing the President's broad authority in the immigration context.
"(Robart's ruling) contravenes the considered judgment of Congress that the President should have the unreviewable authority to suspend the admission of any class of aliens," the Justice Department wrote in its filing.
DOJ further argued that the parties who filed the lawsuit -- the attorneys general of Washington state and Minnesota -- lack the ability to sue in federal court because their alleged harms are too "speculative."
Robart, a Bush appointee sitting in the Western District of Washington, ruled Friday that the states that filed the lawsuit, Washington and Minnesota, "have met their burden of demonstrating that they face immediate and irreparable injury as a result of the signing and implementation of the executive order."
Robart went on to explain that Trump's executive order adversely affects "residents in areas of employment, education, business, family relations, and freedom to travel."
When the President was asked at a gala in Florida whether he was confident his administration would prevail in the appeal, Trump replied, "We'll win. For the safety of the country, we'll win."
On Saturday, the Department of Homeland Security announced it had suspended "any and all" actions to implement the immigration order and would resume standard inspections of travelers, as it did prior to the signing of the travel ban.
Robart refused to recognize the national security aspects of the ban, which leaves the appellate court an opening to restore it - if they choose. The Ninth Circuit is notoriously liberal, and Laura Ingraham points out a salient fact about the circuit:
FACT: 9th Cir is the most reversed fed appellate court in America.— Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) February 5, 2017
Ingraham also tweets that Robart failed to make his case for the stay:
The Judge Robart Order on travel ban offers ZERO reasoning as to why petitioner will succeed on the merits. https://t.co/ax2Tn72VM6— Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) February 5, 2017
In just about any other federal appeals court, the Justice Department case would be a slam dunk victory. But Trump's order is now in limbo as its fate resides with ideological opponents of the president.
If the DoJ motion fails on appeal, there is always the Surpreme Court. But President Trump's choice to fill the 9th and final seat on the high court will probably not be confirmed until later this spring, making a 4-4 decision upholding the stay a real possibility.