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Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Hears Oral Arguments Today

Feb 7, 2017

Today at 3 p.m. PST, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments in State of Washington v. Trump (and they’ll be live streamed here). Yesterday, the court took briefs yesterday as President Donald Trump’s Justice Department appealed the decision of Federal Court Judge James Robart Friday. He issued a restraining order against some of the directives of the Trump executive order that instituted a travel ban for those coming to the United States from seven majority-Muslim countries. 

At the moment, the severe restrictions that even prevented the travel into the U.S. of people with valid visas and green cards have been lifted, but the Trump Administration continues to argue that other directives of the executive order are necessary for national security. When Judge Robart initially suspended the ban, Slate's Mark Joseph Stern writes that he asked the Justice Department lawyer “how many citizens of the seven Muslim-majority countries targeted by the ban ... had been arrested on domestic terrorism charges since 9/11?” When the lawyer didn’t know, Robart replied, “Zero.”

“You’re here arguing on behalf of someone who says we have to protect the U.S. from these individuals coming from these countries, and there’s no support for that.”

The Justice Department argued that Trump’s executive order was legal because it was within his authority, while according to The Seattle Times, “Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson argued that reinstating the ban would again ‘unleash chaos’ around the country. He argued that Trump’s executive order is a thinly disguised effort by the president to fulfill a campaign promise to ban Muslims from coming to the U.S.”

Court observers are unsure of which way the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will go, but regardless of what happens today and tomorrow, the fight will likely continue and almost certainly end up at the Supreme Court. If the Supreme Court ends in a 4-4 split, the Ninth Circuit ruling would stand.

Since Trump has used the words “refugee” and “terrorist” interchangeably and made anti-immigrant rhetoric a cornerstone of his presidential campaign, there’s no reason to think the situation will be more hospitable any time soon for those from affected countries to enter the United States.

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