Constitution Daily

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Ninth Circuit rules on Trump executive orders case

February 9, 2017 by Scott Bomboy


A Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals panel has upheld a temporary restraining order related to the Trump administration’s executive action on immigration from seven Mideast nations and the admission of refugees into the United States.


In a unanimous, per curium opinion, Senior Judge William C. Canby Jr., Senior Judge Richard Clifton and Judge Michelle Taryn Friedland denied the Justice Department’s request for a stay of a temporary restraining order issued by Judge James Robart, based in Seattle.


In its 26-page ruling, the appeals court listed numerous reasons why it didn’t agree with the Justice Department’s request. (Note: our Supreme Court correspondent, Lyle Denniston, has analysis on the decision.)


The executive order signed by President Trump on January 27 directed federal agencies to issue a 90-day suspension of entry into the United States for citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. The order also barred entry of all refugees into the United States for 120 days, and it barred Syrian refugees indefinitely.


Robart had ordered a temporary stop to parts of the order from going into effect. Robart issued the temporary restraining order (or TRO) until he could weigh further arguments, but he made it clear that he had serious doubts about the constitutionality of the executive order.


The Justice Department appealed Robart’s order to the Ninth Circuit, arguing the TRO was too broad and it went against the President’s powers, as granted to him by Congress, as “a lawful exercise of the President’s authority over the entry of aliens into the United States and the admission of refugees.”


Washington state, supported by Minnesota and Hawaii, made several arguments demanding Robart’s order remain in place. It cited Trump’s campaign promises to ban Muslims from the United States, the economic impact on Washington state brought by the executive order, and harm brought to the state’s system of public universities as causing the need for Judge Robart’s order.


At this point, the case will wind up at the Supreme Court at some point in the near future. In response to the ruling, President Trump issued the following response: “SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!”


He then had a few words for the press. “It’s a political decision,” Trump told reporters in an audio clip published by the Washington Post. “We’re going to see them in court and I look forward to doing it.”


“We have a situation where the security of our country is at stake and it’s a very, very serious situation,” Trump added. “We’re going to win the case. … It’s a decision that we’ll win in my opinion very easily.”


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