Federal appeals court unanimously votes against reinstatement of immigration ban
Keegan Hamilton on Feb 9, 2017
A federal appeals court declined to reinstate President Donald Trump’s ban on travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries on Thursday, potentially setting the stage for a showdown in the Supreme Court.
A three-judge panel from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco upheld a lower court’s ruling that initially halted the ban. Enacted by Trump during his first week in office, the ban barred citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen from entering the country, and temporarily halted the resettlement of all refugees in the U.S.Assuming the 9th Circuit’s ruling is appealed, the Supreme Court could eventually decide the issue. The court is still operating with only eight justices, and Trump’s nominee to fill the vacant seat, Judge Neil Gorsuch, won’t be confirmed in time to cast a tie-breaking vote. If the Supreme Court rules 4-4, the lower court’s ruling to halt the ban would remain in place.
The ban was widely criticized for targeting Muslims, and several states sued the Trump administration claiming it harmed citizens, businesses, and universities. Washington state’s lawsuit led to a ruling by U.S. District Court Judge James Robart putting Trump’s order on hold while the issue was sorted out in court. Travel and refugee resettlement was allowed to resume during the interim.
Trump subsequently railed against Robart on Twitter, accusing him of overstepping his authority and jeopardizing national security. Trump says the ban is needed to ensure potential terrorists don’t enter the country, but refugees and travelers from the seven countries included already face heavy scrutiny. There have no fatal attacks on U.S. soil by people from the seven countries since 9/11.
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT
STATE OF WASHINGTON; STATE OF
DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the
United States; U.S. DEPARTMENT OF
HOMELAND SECURITY; REX W.
TILLERSON, Secretary of State; JOHN
F. KELLY, Secretary of the
Department of Homeland Security;
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
Motion for Stay of an Order of the
United States District Court for the
Western District of Washington
James L. Robart, District Judge, Presiding
Argued and Submitted February 7, 2017
Filed February 9, 2017
Before: William C. Canby, Richard R. Clifton, and
Michelle T. Friedland, Circuit Judges
Per Curiam Order …………………..
STATE OF WASHINGTON V. TRUMP
By contrast, the States have offered ample evidence that
if the Executive Order were reinstated even temporarily, it
would substantially injure the States and multiple “other
parties interested in the proceeding.” Nken, 556 U.S. at 434
(quoting Hilton v. Braunskill, 481 U.S. 770, 776 (1987)).
When the Executive Order was in effect, the States contend
that the travel prohibitions harmed the States’ university
employees and students, separated families, and stranded the
States’ residents abroad. These are substantial injuries and
even irreparable harms. See Melendres v. Arpaio, 695 F.3d
990, 1002 (9th Cir. 2012) (“It is well established that the
deprivation of constitutional rights ‘unquestionably
constitutes irreparable injury.’” (quoting Elrod v. Burns,
427 U.S. 347, 373 (1976))).
The Government suggests that the Executive Order’s
discretionary waiver provisions are a sufficient safety valve
for those who would suffer unnecessarily, but it has offered
no explanation for how these provisions would function in
practice: how would the “national interest” be determined,
who would make that determination, and when? Moreover,
as we have explained above, the Government has not
otherwise explained how the Executive Order could
realistically be administered only in parts such that the
injuries listed above would be avoided.
Finally, in evaluating the need for a stay, we must
consider the public interest generally. See Nken, 556 U.S. at
434. Aspects of the public interest favor both sides, as
evidenced by the massive attention this case has garnered at
even the most preliminary stages. On the one hand, the
public has a powerful interest in national security and in the
ability of an elected president to enact policies. And on the
other, the public also has an interest in free flow of travel, in
avoiding separation of families, and in freedom from
STATE OF WASHINGTON V. TRUMP
discrimination. We need not characterize the public interest
more definitely than this; when considered alongside the
hardships discussed above, these competing public interests
do not justify a stay.
For the foregoing reasons, the emergency motion for a
stay pending appeal is DENIED.