The three judges on the panel - all appointees of former President Bill Clinton - peppered the parties with questions in an hour-long televised hearing Monday, appearing eager to flesh out exactly when the court might be allowed to look behind the plain text of the President's executive order find a discriminatory objective.
The three judges on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals - all appointees of former President Bill Clinton - peppered the parties with questions in an hour-long televised hearing, while lawyers for Trump defended their client's proposal as justified for the nation's security.
Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall, who is defending the travel ban that "over time, the president clarified that what he was talking about was Islamic terrorist groups and the countries that sponsor or shelter them".
No, said Katyal, adding that he wouldn't be arguing the case if it simply involved past campaign statements alone.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals panel must decide whether to uphold the decision made by a federal Judge in Hawaii that stopped the President's revised executive order taking effect.
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".
The scope of Trump's revamped ban, signed in early March, was toned down from its original version in January, which blocked travelers from seven-majority Muslim countries, including Iraq, as well as all refugees.
Three judges from the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals were considering Trump's challenge of a judge's order blocking his ban on refugees and nationals from six Muslim-majority countries.
Judge Richard Paez asked Wall what separates Trump's executive order from the World War II-era mass imprisonment of Japanese-Americans, which was also initiated by an executive order from President Roosevelt and justified on national security grounds.More news: Kylie Jenner's new docu-series will let Kardashians keep up with her
The judges did not indicate when they would issue a ruling.
"This is something new and unusual in which you're saying, 'This whole class of people, some of which are risky, we can bar them all, '" Katyal argued.
Dozens of advocates for refugees and immigrants rallied outside the federal courthouse in Seattle, some carrying "No Ban, No Wall" signs.
Those urging the 9th Circuit to continue blocking the travel ban include the American Bar Assn., former national security officials, technology companies, religious organizations, 165 members of Congress, refugee assistance groups, law professors and an organization that arranges for ill children in Iran to receive medical care in the U.S.
Katyal said Trump had said and done enough after becoming president to back up their claim that the order amounted to religious discrimination. The U.S. Supreme Court, in another case, ruled similarly three years later. What the president apparently didn't realize was the fact that Orrick doesn't actually sit on the 9th Circuit, but rather is a lower-court judge whose rulings would be reviewed by that body.
Wall on May 8 to 13 judges on the US Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit. In the case being heard in Hawaii, the plaintiffs took issue with a broader swath of the ban. At one point, Paez asked Katyal if the challengers could still win the case if the court didn't consider the campaign statements.
But the judge wondered whether Trump is forever forbidden from adopting an executive order along the lines of his travel ban.
Civil rights groups, immigration advocacy organizations, and almost a dozen states fought back, arguing that the revised travel ban was simply "Muslim Ban 2.0" and contained the same fatal flaws as the first. Wall said he wasn't familiar with the details of the order, but he couldn't imagine a court saying it would survive under the standard the government was asking the court to apply.
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