San Francisco appeals court mulls travel ban

A federal appeals court in San Francisco is mulling whether to halt a lower court order that blocked President Donald Trump’s travel ban involving seven Muslim-majority nations.

The U.S. Department of Justice has filed an emergency appeal with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, seeking a stay of a temporary restraining order issued by a federal district judge in Seattle on Friday.

The lower court ruling temporarily suspended an executive order in which Trump banned visitors and refugees from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days, stopped the U.S. refugee program for 120 days and excluded all refugees from Syria indefinitely.

The Seattle judge’s ruling was issued in a lawsuit filed by the states of Washington and Minnesota.

The Justice Department’s appeal on behalf of the Trump Administration contends the lower court “improperly second-guessed the president’s national security determinations.”

On Saturday, a two-judge panel of the appeals court denied an immediate stay but set a rapid schedule for the filing of additional briefs by both sides on whether a stay should be granted. The final brief by the Justice Department is due at 3 p.m. today.

The appeals court has no deadline for acting, but is expected to respond quickly.

The two states argued in a filing early this morning that Trump’s executive order “unleashed chaos,” harming the states’ economies, residents and public universities.

A third state, Hawaii, asked the appeals court today for permission to join the case.

Also today, 97 technology companies, including many from Silicon Valley, filed a friend-of-the-court brief supporting the states.

The companies’ brief argues that Trump’s executive order “inflicts significant harm on American business, innovation, and growth.”

The firms claimed:

“It threatens companies’ ability to attract talent, business, and investment to the United States.”

Companies signing on to the friend-of-the-court brief include Airbnb, Apple, eBay, Facebook, Google, Levi Strauss, Lyft, Microsoft, Twitter, Uber and Yelp.