At different times during oral arguments in the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals over whether to reinstate President Trump's travel ban it looked like either Washington state attorney Noah G. Purcell or Justice Department attorney August E. Flentje had the upper hand.
Both lawyers faced sharp questioning, but legal experts cautioned not to read too much into the matter.
"It seemed like Washington state had a better argument. The Department of Justice attorney really struggled with articulating why the executive order had to remain in place," said Jessica Levinson, a law professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.
In making the case to reinstate President Trump's executive order on immigration, attorneys for the Department of Justice have zeroed in on the chief executive's authority to decide issues of national security.
That power, they argued in court papers, is sacrosanct and should not be challenged, as it was by the judge who issued a sweeping emergency order last week that halted the travel restrictions.
“Judicial second-guessing of the President’s determination,” the lawyers wrote in a brief, “would constitute an impermissible intrusion on the political branches’ plenary constitutional authority over foreign affairs, national security, and immigration.”
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which is considering arguments over lifting a temporary halt to President Trump's controversial travel ban, said Wednesday morning there would be no decision issued today.
Three judges from the court heard arguments from Department of Justice and Washington state attorneys Tuesday afternoon over whether to reinstate Trump's executive order stopping refugee admission and immigration from seven mostly Muslim countries.
The ban had been put on hold nationwide Friday following the order of a federal district judge in Seattle who is presiding over a lawsuit from Washington and Minnesota states against the ban. The Trump administration has asked the 9th Circuit to reverse the Seattle decision.
After enduring an unusually bitter confirmation battle for a sitting U.S. senator, Jeff Sessions will barely have time to settle into his fifth-floor office at the Justice Department before he takes center stage in some of the nation’s most acute controversies.
If the Senate confirms Sessions as attorney general on Wednesday night, as expected, he will be responsible for leading the legal defense of President Trump’s immigration restrictions, for halting and investigating terrorist attacks, and for probing hate crimes and abuses by local and state law enforcement.
He also is expected to play a key role in implementing Trump’s promised crackdown on illegal immigration by increasing deportations.
A federal appeals court panel reviewing President Trump’s controversial limits on travel from seven predominantly Muslim countries appeared inclined Tuesday to rule that two states had the right to challenge the ban.
During a hearing that lasted over an hour, at least two of the three judges on the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals panel expressed skepticism over the Trump administration’s arguments.
The court is considering the government’s appeal of a federal judge’s order temporarily preventing enforcement of the travel ban, which blocks admissions from seven predominantly Muslim countries to help protect against terrorism.
Brian Goldman -- a former law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and 9th Circuit Court Judge Stephen Reinhardt, and author of an appellate lawyer's guide to practicing before the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals -- provided a running commentary on Twitter to Tuesday's arguments on the Trump administration's immigration ban.
Check out his predictions and analysis on the case:
1/ Really impressive preparation by the panel and attorneys on both sides, especially given the timing: TRO to 9th Cir. arg. in 96 hours.
After hearing more than an hour of arguments from attorneys for Washington state and the Justice Department over whether to reverse a stay of President Trump's immigration restrictions, Judge Michelle Friedland of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said the court would come to a decision "as soon as possible."
Legal experts said they expected to hear from the court within days. An earlier news release from the court said that "a ruling is not expected to come down today" but would "probably" be issued this week.
In addition to oral arguments and answers to questions the attorneys were asked Tuesday, the court has received hundreds of pages of briefs from the chief attorneys in the case, as well as from technology companies, state attorneys general and other parties who have sought to join in.
Tuesday's oral arguments over President Trump's travel ban had a massive public audience Tuesday, as audio of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals hearing was broadcast live both on the Internet and on cable television.
More than 135,000 people tuned in on the court's official YouTube live stream to listen to attorneys for the state of Washington and the U.S. Department of Justice argue over the ban in front of a three-judge panel.
CNN and MSNBC also took the unusual step of broadcasting live audio of the hourlong hearing, as did many news websites, making it difficult to size up the exact audience for the arguments.
For several consecutive minutes during Washington Solicitor Gen. Noah Purcell's arguments at the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, judges repeatedly prodded Purcell on whether President Trump's travel ban amounted to anti-Muslim discrimination.
"The seven countries encompass only a relatively small percentage of Muslims," Judge Richard Clifton, an appointee of President George W. Bush, said at one point.
"I have trouble understanding where we're supposed to infer religious animus," said Clifton.