Justice Department Appeals Order Blocking Trump Travel Ban

Brief argues that judge "second-guessed" the president's national security judgment.

UPDATE: Feb. 4 ― The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals temporarily denied the Justice Department’s request to restore President Donald Trump’s travel ban late on Saturday.

Previously: Justice Department lawyers filed an appeal late Saturday night seeking an immediate stay on a judge’s restraining order that blocks President Donald Trump’s executive order banning refugees and travelers from seven targeted Muslim nations.

The brief argues that Friday’s ruling by U.S. District Judge James Robart in Seattle poses “irreparable harm” to the public and “second guesses the president’s national security judgment about the quantum of risk posed by the admission [into the U.S.] of certain classes of aliens — and the best way of minimizing that risk.”

The ruling “contravenes the considered judgment of Congress that the president should have the unreviewable authority to suspend the admission of any class of aliens,” the brief argues. It also claims that the order does not discriminate by religion, only country of origin, and that all of the countries targeted in the travel ban had been deemed sponsors of terror by previous administrations.

The appeal now goes to a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, which can act at any time to uphold — or suspend — Robart’s nationwide temporary restraining order against Trump’s ban.

Speaking about the appeal on Saturday at his private Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, Trump said: “We’ll win. For the safety of the country, we’ll win.”

Until the court rules, Trump’s order remains blocked. Travel to the U.S. from the targeted countries resumed Saturday after federal officials announced they would stop enforcing key provisions of the president’s order. Some 60,000 previously revoked visas were recognized again, and refugee resettlement restarted.

The White House said shortly after Robart’s order that it would immediately challenge it, and issued a statement calling the ruling “outrageous.”

Trump on Saturday lashed out at Robart, who was appointed by President George W. Bush in 2003, in a daylong series of tweets. The president called Robart a “so-called” judge and warned that because of him, “many very bad and dangerous people may be pouring into our country.”

Robart’s ruling was issued in response to a challenge of Trump’s order filed by Washington state and joined by Minnesota. The judge said the states had “met their burden of demonstrating that they face immediate and irreparable injury as a result of the signing and implementation of the executive order.” Trump’s edict, Robart said, adversely affected education, employment and the freedom to travel.

The three judges who likely will hear the travel ban appeal are Judge William Canby, appointed by President Jimmy Carter; Richard Clifton, appointed by President George W. Bush; and Michelle Friedland, named by President Barack Obama.

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