9th Circuit refuses to delay travel ban appeal

A federal appeals court in San Francisco Monday¬†rejected a U.S. Justice Department request to put on hold its appeal for reinstatement of President Donald Trump’s ban on travel from seven Muslim-majority countries.

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals turned down the request in a one-page order without explanation:

“Appellants’ motion to hold this appeal in abeyance is denied.”

Trump’s Jan. 27 executive order would bar individuals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the country for 90 days; stop refugees from all countries for 120 days; and exclude Syrian refugees indefinitely.

The president has said he plans to issue a new, revised order this week.

His original order was blocked by a temporary restraining order issued Feb. 3 by a federal trial judge in Seattle, acting on a lawsuit filed by the states of Washington and Minnesota.

The Justice Department asked the 9th Circuit for an emergency stay of the trial judge’s order, but on Feb. 9, the three-judge appeals panel refused to grant a stay.

The appeals court did, however, set an expedited schedule for briefs for the Justice Department’s underlying appeal of the Seattle judge’s decision.

Today’s 9th Circuit ruling leaves the expedited appeal process in place, although the court delayed the deadline for the Justice Department’s opening brief for one week, from this Friday to March 10.

In a Feb. 16 brief that asked for a hold, the Justice Department said the president planned to rescind the original travel ban and “replace it with a new, substantially revised executive order.”

But Washington state lawyers noted in a brief filed the same day that both Trump and Press Secretary Sean Spicer have said the Trump administration plans to proceed on a dual track, continuing to defend the original order while at the same time issuing a revised one.

Washington Attorney General Robert Ferguson wrote in the brief:

“Throughout these proceedings, there appears to have been a lack of communication between the Department of Justice and the White House.”

Ferguson said in a statement Monday:

¬†“Despite the Trump administration’s repeated requests for delay, the courts agree with my office that this case should move forward.”

DOJ spokeswoman Nicole Navas said:

“The Justice Department declines to comment beyond the government’s brief in this pending litigation.”

In its Feb. 9 decision, the appeals court said the executive order appeared to violate the due process rights of certain groups of people, including permanent U.S. residents, visa holders from the seven countries and undocumented individuals already in the United States.

The appeals panel also said the two states had raised serious constitutional questions regarding their claim of religious discrimination against Muslims, but said it was not deciding that question for the time being.

Trump said in a news conference last week that the revised executive order “is going to be very much tailored to what I consider to be a very bad decision” by the appeals court.