Seattle court fills up before travel ban hearing

16 May, 2017, 09:21 | Author: Ora Austin

Though the outcome is far from clear, Monday's arguments were the most favorable hearing the order has yet received in a federal appeals court.

"We shouldn't start down the road of psychoanalyzing what people meant on the campaign trail", Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall argued in a Seattle court on Monday. All three are Clinton appointees.

(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren).

White House press secretary Sean Spicer expressed confidence that President Trump's travel ban order will be upheld by an appeals court.

And not only was Trump facing Democratic appointees, but he has also taken shots in the past at the 9th Circuit, criticism which the three judges may find hard to ignore.

The travel ban, one of President Donald Trump's leading campaign promises and a key policy initiative, hasn't gotten anywhere in the courts.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals hears arguments over Trump's revised travel ban. Watson found that the travel ban likely violated the constitution's Establishment Clause by discriminating against Muslims. Trump wants those decisions reversed.

As CNN notes, the administration appears to be hoping that there will be a conflict between the Ninth Circuit's decision and another pending decision on the same executive order from the Fourth Circuit, where a 13-judge panel heard arguments last week.

A courtroom at the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Seattle is starting to fill up in advance of arguments over President Donald Trump's travel ban while protests were expected outside the building.

"This order is aimed at aliens overseas, who themselves don't have constitutional rights", Wall said in a hearing broadcast live on C-Span and other news stations.

In that hearing, the judges questioned Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall about whether they should take into account Trump's previous campaign statements about banning Muslims from the United States as they consider his executive order, which essentially would do just that.

Katyal pointed to a campaign news release that asserted that Trump is "calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States".

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Monday's hearing was again before a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit, which Trump has complained about before on Twitter, accusing the San Francisco-based circuit of having a "terrible record".

"This is a repeated pattern of the president", Katyal said.

Katyal said no, and suggested the president could work with Congress on legitimate measures.

Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall, who argued the case this past week in the Fourth Circuit, once again faced an array of questions about how much the judges should consider Trump's statements during the presidential campaign in support of a ban on Muslim immigration, as well as statements by the president and his advisors about the goal of the travel ban executive order after he took office.

Hawaii also cited a draft report from the Department of Homeland Security that said citizenship was an "unlikely indicator" of future terrorism and that few individuals from the targeted countries have been involved in terrorism in the U.S. The figure was slightly higher in April, at 3,200, but it was still much lower than the months preceding Trump's order.

Wall pointed to a previous US Supreme Court case that said courts couldn't look behind certain immigration-related decisions if, on their face, they presented a legitimate objective and the government's actions had a rational relationship to that goal.

Earlier this month, the State Department announced it wants to review social media, email addresses and phone numbers from some foreigners seeking US visas, as part of the Trump administration's enhanced screening of potential immigrants and visitors.

Travel ban headed to SCOTUS?

But the scope of the rulings differed.

Trump's new travel ban would suspend the nation's refugee program and temporarily bar new visas for citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

A Hawaii-based judge in March issued a preliminary injunction - which applies nationwide - against the order on grounds it was motivated by anti-Muslim bias.

It was the second time the 9th Circuit Court heard case against travel ban.

But unlike the due process concerns driving the analysis in the last round, this time the appeals court must squarely wrestle with Trump's past statements about Muslims as it decides whether the lower court in Hawaii correctly blocked the revised ban.

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