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The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled to continue blocking enforcement of President Trump ’s travel ban. The unanimous decision means that a stay preventing a ban on immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries remains in place, at least for now. The ruling came after the three-judge panel heard arguments this week from the Justice Department and Washington state.

Earlier this week:

  • President Trump's words on Muslims come back to bite him.
  • Judges ask about limiting parts of the travel ban, rather than blocking it entirely.
  • Meet the three judges deciding whether to reinstate Trump's travel ban.
  • Read Trump's executive order and legal filings for and against the executive order.
Reaction

Press Secretary Sean Spicer downplays 9th Circuit Court decision against Trump's travel ban

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, right, in an interview on Facebook Live. (Facebook)
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, right, in an interview on Facebook Live. (Facebook)

In a Facebook Live interview with Breitbart, the right-wing website formerly led by chief White House strategist Stephen K. Bannon, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer tried to downplay Thursday's decision in the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

"Tonight was just a procedural ruling on the temporary restraining order. We look forward to a full hearing on the merits of this case, and we feel very confident that we're going to prevail," Spicer said in the two-and-a-half-minute video.

He said the White House and President Trump would "examine our legal options," and he defended the implementation of the executive order.

The court declined to order the reinstatement of the president's moratorium on refugees and on travel from seven mostly Muslim countries. The halt on the controversial travel rules was ordered last week by a federal judge in Seattle as an emergency pause while a lawsuit from the states of Washington and Minnesota proceeded.

Trump has suggested he will appeal the case to the Supreme Court.

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New York attorney general praises 9th Circuit Court decision

 (Seth Wenig / Associated Press)
(Seth Wenig / Associated Press)

New York Atty. Gen. Eric T. Schneiderman called Thursday's decision "a major victory for the rule of law."

"State attorneys general have been leading the fight against President Trump's order on behalf of the many universities, hospitals, businesses and residents harmed by it, and today the 9th Circuit affirmed the critical role we play," Schneiderman said.

Analysis Ruling

How would the Supreme Court react to Trump over the travel ban? Not well, say legal experts

 (Jason Szenes / European Pressphogo Agency)
(Jason Szenes / European Pressphogo Agency)

Several legal experts who weighed in on the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision to not order a reinstatement of President Trump's travel ban said they thought the administration had slim chances if it appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

UC Irvine Law School dean Erwin Chemerinsky said it was difficult to predict whether the Supreme Court would review the decision.

“They don’t want a 4-4 split, but they really like having the last word on high-profile cases,” the constitutional law expert said.

John Yoo, a law professor at UC Berkeley who worked for President George W. Bush’s administration and helped write a memo justifying torture of terrorism suspects, said the Supreme Court was unlikely to agree to review the decision.

The inclusion of green-card holders in the travel ban doomed it legally, Yoo said, and the Supreme Court rarely agrees to hear such emergency appeals in any case.

Jessica Levinson, a law professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, said she thought the Supreme Court would take up the question of whether to reinstate the travel ban.

"This is probably going to the Supreme Court, but I don't think it's going anywhere good for Donald Trump — even if the Supreme Court rules along party lines and is deadlocked, because the lower court's decision would stand."

If the Supreme Court did not take up the case or took it and was split in its ruling, the decision of the 9th Circuit Court would stand.

If it did not go to directly to the Supreme Court, the Trump administration could also ask the full 9th Circuit to review its request, said Margo Schlanger, a law professor at the University of Michigan who was the head of civil rights for the Department of Homeland Security under President Obama.

But with a unanimous decision from the three judges who issued Thursday's opinion, Trump's chances are not good in what's known as one of the country's most reliably liberal appeals courts.

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California's top prosecutor praises 9th Circuit Court decision

California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra. (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)
California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra. (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra, whose office joined 16 other states and the District of Columbia in urging the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to reject President Trump's appeal, said the court ruled "on the side of justice."

"While today’s court ruling may not mark the end of our fight, its decision to preserve the suspension of the Trump administration’s travel ban means that our families and businesses and our state institutions and universities can continue forward without harmful disruption," Becerra said.

Reaction Ruling

Ruling sends a message, UC Irvine Law School dean says: 'No one, not even the president, is above the law'

Erwin Chemerinsky in 2009. (Robert Lachman / Los Angeles Times)
Erwin Chemerinsky in 2009. (Robert Lachman / Los Angeles Times)

UC Irvine Law School Dean Erwin Chemerinsky said he thought the most important part of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling on President Trump's travel ban dealt with Trump’s claim that his executive order could not be reviewed by the courts.

The 9th Circuit judges firmly rejected that argument, calling it "contrary to the fundamental structure of our constitutional democracy.”

The law professor said the 9th Circuit reaffirmed "the most basic aspect of the rule of law: No one, not even the president, is above the law, and it is the role of the courts always to review the constitutionality of government actions."

This ruling does not affect the merits at all. It is an interim ruling, and we are fully confident that now that we will  get our day in court, and have an opportunity to argue this on the merits, that we will prevail.

Kellyanne Conway, a senior advisor to President Trump, speaking on Fox News
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Bush administration lawyer John Yoo says Trump lost because executive order was haphazard and rushed

John Yoo in 2010. (Laura Morton / For The Times)
John Yoo in 2010. (Laura Morton / For The Times)

John Yoo, a UC Berkeley law professor who worked for President George W. Bush’s administration and helped write a memo justifying torture of terrorism suspects, said the Supreme Court is unlikely to agree to review the decision.

The inclusion of green-card holders in the travel ban doomed it legally, Yoo said, and the Supreme Court rarely agrees to hear such emergency appeals in any case.

Yoo said the 9th Circuit was on less solid ground on other issues: whether the states had standing to sue and whether visa holders had a right to a hearing before their visas were canceled.

The administration lost because “it rushed out this order in an ill-considered and haphazard way,” the legal scholar said. A “more cautious, more modest” executive order would have survived legal scrutiny, he said.

Analysis Reaction Ruling

Constitutional law professor praises court's legal precision

Douglas Kmiec, a professor of constitutional law at Pepperdine University, praised the court's legal precision.

"It was very carefully worded. The court was careful to indicate it wasn't deciding the underlying policy" of the travel ban, said Kmiec, who served in the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel under presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush and was the U.S. ambassador to Malta under President Barack Obama. "Their reasoning is quite well considered."

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'This victory should not lead to complacency,' leader of Muslim civil rights group says

While this decision is critical, it is not the end of the legal process. Other courts across the country will be passing judgment on this order, and the U.S. Supreme Court will likely weigh in at some point. This victory should not lead to complacency. This and other Trump administration orders and policies still pose a threat to communities of color, religious minorities, women and others.

Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations
Reaction Ruling

Hillary Clinton trolls Trump on his court losses: '3-0'

Former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton appeared to deliver a burn against President Trump on Thursday over his defeat in court:

Clinton was presumably referring to the unanimous ruling by a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Eric H. Holder Jr., the former U.S. attorney general under President Obama, also weighed in with a "3-0." He added the hashtag #thankyousally and a photo of former acting Atty. Gen. Sally Yates, whom Trump fired after she refused to defend the travel ban.

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'No one is above the law,' Washington attorney general says

No one is above the law, not even the President. The President should withdraw this flawed, rushed and dangerous Executive Order, which caused chaos across the country. If he refuses, I will continue our work to hold him accountable to the Constitution.

Washington Atty. Gen. Bob Ferguson, who brought the lawsuit against President Trump along with the state of Minnesota
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'Radical Islamic terrorists are at war with America,' conservative group says after court ruling

This decision is disappointing and clearly puts our nation in grave danger. The fact is that President Trump clearly has the constitutional and statutory authority to issue this order. It is clear: radical Islamic terrorists are at war with America. President Trump’s order is a proper and constitutional way to protect America.

Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice, a conservative Christian organization that filed an appeals court brief in support of Trump's travel ban
Reaction Ruling

Passions fly after court rules against Trump on travel ban

When the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that President Trump's travel ban would stay suspended, the reaction was passionate and immediate, starting with one of the plaintiffs, the Washington state attorney general:

Trump, too, had an all-caps response.

The American Civil Liberties Union, one of the many plaintiffs around the nation who have sued the administration over the travel ban, said this was just the first step.

The ACLU also noticed something familiar in the language of Trump's tweet.

Former Republican Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee accused the court of protecting terrorists.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, which is opposed to the ban, greeted the ruling with a sigh of relief.

Analysis Ruling

Conservative challenge to Obama immigration orders comes back to haunt Trump

The liberal states that challenged President Trump's travel ban got an important, although unintended, legal boost from conservatives who challenged one of President Obama's major immigration programs.

When a federal judge in Seattle blocked Trump from enforcing his immigration executive order, he gave his stay nationwide effect. Lawyers for the administration argued that the judge's decision should be limited to just the two states which had brought the challenge -- Washington and Minnesota.

But the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, in deciding to keep Trump's order on hold, rejected that argument. The judge's order should apply across the country, they said, because the government needs to have a "uniform immigration law" in all 50 states.

To support that part of the ruling, the three-judge 9th Circuit panel cited a decision in 2015 from the 5th Circuit. That court had ruled against an Obama administration program that tried to shield from deportation several hundred thousand parents of young people who had arrived in the U.S. illegally while they were children.

Texas, which successfully sued to block Obama's so-called DAPA program, had argued that its suit should have nationwide effect, and the 5th Circuit had agreed, citing the need for uniformity.

The Supreme Court, on a 4-4 vote, upheld that ruling in 2016.

Analysis Reaction Ruling

It's really important that the opinion is unanimous because judges that were appointed by Democratic and Republican presidents came to the same legal conclusion. This is probably going to the Supreme Court, but I don't think it's going anywhere good for Donald Trump — even if the Supreme Court rules along party lines and is deadlocked, because the lower court's decision would stand.

Jessica Levinson, law professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles
Analysis Ruling

Judges rebuke administration claim that Trump order is unreviewable

In continuing to block President Trump's executive order banning travel from seven mostly Muslim countries, a federal appeals court rebuked the administration's claim that presidential authority over immigration cannot be reviewed.

The administration's sweeping assertion of presidential power "runs contrary to the fundamental structure of our constitutional democracy," the three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals wrote.

"Courts owe considerable deference to the president’s policy determinations" in areas of immigration and national security, but they still have authority to decide whether those orders violate constitutional rights, the judges said.

The states that challenged Trump's order had made a strong claim that the ban violated the rights of U.S. residents and visa holders to due process, the judges wrote.

And, on the other side, the administration had presented no evidence that the ban was urgently needed for national security.

"The Government has pointed to no evidence that any alien from any of the countries named in the Order has perpetrated a terrorist attack in the United States," the judges wrote.

Putting Trump's order on hold until a lower court can fully consider it and hear arguments will merely return the country to the status quo of a few weeks ago, they said.

Ruling

Read the 9th Circuit judges' order: 'Emergency motion ... is denied'

“We hold that the Government has not shown a likelihood of success on the merits of its appeal, nor has it shown that failure to enter a stay would cause irreparable injury,” the panel of two Democratic appointees and a Republican unanimously decided in an unsigned opinion.

Reaction

Trump wastes no time responding to appeals court loss: 'SEE YOU IN COURT'

President Trump was defiant Thursday in response to an appeals court panel ruling against his travel ban.

Minutes after the ruling was issued Thursday night, Trump tweeted a message in all caps: "SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!"

The decision means travelers from the seven Muslim-majority countries that fell under Trump’s restrictions will still be allowed to visit the U.S., for now.

The controversial travel restrictions that Trump signed Jan. 27 sparked chaos at airports and protests worldwide as at least 60,000 visas were voided, including those held by doctors, engineers and students who were caught outside the U.S. visiting relatives abroad.

The Department of Justice is reviewing the decision, and the Trump administration is expected to quickly appeal to the Supreme Court.

Reaction

'A victory for American freedom over presidential tyranny'

Today marks a victory for American freedom over presidential tyranny. The court has sided with refugees who thirst for hope over a president who yearns to hate. In the memory of Anne Frank, a refugee America denied entry, our nation has a moral obligation to Save Every Anne. Never again means never again to anyone.

Steven Goldstein, executive director of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect
Ruling

There is no precedent to support this claimed unreviewability, which runs contrary to the fundamental structure of our constitutional democracy.

Judges' decision, rejecting Trump administration argument that the courts lacked the right to review his executive order
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