What to know about travel ban appeals

Cheryl Sanders
May 16, 2017

A U.S. government attorney insisted Monday that President Donald Trump's revised travel ban did not unfairly target Muslims, in the latest twist in a monthslong legal battle that has dogged the new USA administration.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer expressed confidence that President Trump's travel ban order will be upheld by an appeals court.

Spicer said Monday the executive order is fully lawful.

Neal Katyal, who represented Hawaii, scoffed at that argument and said Trump had repeatedly spoke of a Muslim ban during the presidential campaign and after. A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Ap.

One of the high points of Katyal's argument, in fact, was to use the setting of the Ninth Circuit hearing to link the Trump order to the infamous order by President Franklin D. Roosevelt during World War II to imprison tens of thousands of Americans - including citizens - of Japanese ancestry because of group suspicion of their loyalty.

But such a finding, Wall said, would be "a remarkable holding" that will "require the strongest, clearest affirmative showing" that the revised order is a pretext for religious discrimination.

The judges are being asked to overturn an order blocking Trump's directive.


Meanwhile, some of those affected in Southern California say no matter how the courts rule, the ban has already had a chilling effect.

His argument, in the end, seemed somewhat less compelling this time because his adversary, former U.S. Solicitor General Neil K. Katyal, made a distinctly more confident and polished presentation than a different lawyer for the challengers had in Richmond.

But during oral arguments yesterday the three-judge panel honed in on Trump's comments, a key indication that they will weigh his statements in determining whether the travel ban impermissibly targeted Muslims. The fate of the ban is one indication of whether the Republican can carry out his promises to be tough on immigration and national security.

Protesters gathered in front of a Federal courthouse in Seattle.

Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall, who represented the federal government at Monday's hearing, told the 9th Circuit that the Supreme Court has made it clear that all the executive branch needs to show is a "legitimate" and "bona fide" objective when deciding whom to exclude from the country.

He did not address why Trump hasn't disavowed his calls during the campaign for a ban on Muslims entering the country.

After clerking for U.S. Supreme Court Judge Potter Stewart from 1974 to 1975, Gould joined the prominent law firm Perkins Coie, where he remained until his appointment to the bench.


Monday's arguments mark the second time Trump's efforts to restrict immigration from certain Muslim-majority nations have reached the San Francisco-based 9th Circuit.

In contrast, Katyal argues that these provisions must be read together and that the President's powers are bounded by Congress's broader statutory scheme.

The judges gave no indication of when they might rule. The three judge panel in that case upheld the decision by Seattle U.S. District Judge James Robart.

The hearings are being broadcast live on C-SPAN and other cable news stations. Because Congress has already adopted a scheme regarding when people may be excluded from the country for terror-related activities, the president can not override that with his travel ban, they argue.

"He could say, like President Bush did right after September 11th, "The face of Terror is not the true face of Islam, that's not what Islam is about, Islam is Peace.' Instead, we get 'Islam hates us", Katyal told the bench, answering Clinton-appointed Judge Richard Paez's question on what, if anything, Trump could do to make the executive order acceptable.

The revised executive order applies to visitors from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Now, three judges from the United States 9th Circuit Court of Appeals are considering Trump's challenge of that injunction. 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 U.S.


Wall tried at the appeals court to repeal the nationwide temporary restraining order (TRO) imposed by US District Judge Derrick Watson.

Other reports by iNewsToday

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