The judges of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals posed pointed questions to lawyers from the Department of Justice and Washington State over a suspension on immigration from seven predominantly Muslim counties. The court is considering the government’s appeal of a federal judge’s order temporarily preventing enforcement of the travel ban, which blocks admissions from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen in order to help protect against possible terrorism.
The states of Washington and Minnesota have challenged the constitutionality of Trump’s executive order arguing that it was motivated by a negative attitude toward Muslims, not as an attempt to protect the United States. They said it would prevent students from completing their education and leave employers stranded. The Justice Department contends that the potential harm cited by the states such as business loss, and disruption of higher education is speculative and that the suspension was not aimed at any particular religion, but at nations associated with terrorism.
The 9th Circuit will determine only whether the TRO should continue. In order to overturn the TRO the federal government must demonstrate that the country would suffer irreparable harm if the travel ban is not immediately reinstated. If the TRO is upheld then the Justice Department can appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.