President Trump’s revised executive order targeting refugees and nationals from six countries that sponsor terrorism will be heard by Seattle appellate judges on Monday.
A three-judge panel will decide whether the president’s comments before he took office – in which he suggested banning Muslims from entering the U.S. — have enough legal standing to rule his order unconstitutional.
The order was blocked by a federal judge in Hawaii in March 2017, due to the “religious animus” of comments Trump made about the policy during the presidential campaign. “The court’s reliance on such statements in the face of a religion-neutral order is fundamentally wrong,” wrote acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall in defending the order to the courts.
Noting that the president’s policy is not a “Muslim ban,” Wall points out that Trump is truly trying to protect the rights of Americans and secure the homeland from foreign terrorists. Wall says the president’s executive authority in this case is beyond judicial review.
The order would temporarily stop refugees from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the country. It also temporarily freezes refugees coming in so that intelligence and security officials can review existing admission procedures.
Prior to this, a different panel of judges on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals allowed a lower court injunction against the president’s original travel ban order, which he revoked in issuing his second version.
Weeks ago, Trump accused the Ninth Circuit of “judge shopping” for Democrat-appointed judges and threatened to do something about it.
The three judges hearing Monday’s case were supposedly chosen randomly from the Ninth Circuit’s members, but all were appointed by President Clinton. Ninth Circuit judges who have said the president’s order is on sound legal ground were not impaneled on either case.
“The president seeks to enact a thinly veiled Muslim ban, shorn of procedural protections and premised on the belief that those who practice Islam are a danger to our country,” according plaintiffs’ attorney and Imam Neal Katyal who represents the state of Hawaii. “The order is the embodiment of a policy of religious animus. The government’s only real response is to ask the court to close its eyes to abundant evidence of discrimination.”
The hearing will be broadcasted on a live feed, and each side will be allotted 30 minutes to present their arguments.
Another federal appellate court in Richmond, Virginia is also hearing arguments regarding the president’s order. The Supreme Court could be next.
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