The 9th Circuit Court has decided to uphold the suspension of President Donald Trump's executive order on immigration.
All three judges on the court moved put a hold on the restrictions.
In part, this executive order placed a 90-day ban on travel into the United States by citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries. It also put a 120-day ban on refugees, as well as an indefinite ban on Syrian refugees.
The court's opinion was “per curium,” meaning that it was written by the entire court and not an individual judge. It's quite uncommon for a court to hand over such a large decision written per curium.
President Trump tweeted shortly after the decision:
The opinion was, in part, affected by President Trump's underlying merits based on his frequent use of the term “Muslim ban”:
The State argue that the Executive Order violates the Establishment and Equal Protection Clauses because it was intended to disfavor Muslims. In support of this argument, the States have offered evidence of numerous statements by the President about his intent to implement a "Muslim ban" as well as evidence they claim suggests that the Executive Order was intended to be that ban[.]
The opinion even cited the detention of Japanese-Americans during World War II:
While the court has one Bush appointee, their opinion twisted a conservative Obama-era court argument on its head. The 9th Circuit invoked the 5th Circuit case on the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA), which the Supreme Court eventually had a split decision on. This decision upheld the halt of DAPA. The conservative argument against DAPA's implementation suggested that the 5th Circuit's decision should be applied nationwide, rather than in the state or circuit district where the case was presented because of the necessity for uniform immigration law:
[W]e decline to limit the geographic scope of the [temporary restraining order]. The Fifth Circuit has held that such a fragmented immigration policy would run afoul of the constitutional and statutory requirement for uniform immigration law and policy. Texas v. United States, 809 F.3d 134, 187-88 (5th Cir. 2015), aff’d by an equally divided Court, 136 S. Ct. 2271 (2016). At this stage of the litigation, we do not need to and do not reach such a legal conclusion for ourselves, but we cannot say that the Government has established that a contrary view is likely to prevail. Moreover, even if limiting the geographic scope of the injunction would be desirable, the Government has not proposed a workable alternative form of the [temporary restraining order] that accounts for the nation’s multiple ports of entry and interconnected transit system and that would protect the proprietary interests of the States at issue here while nevertheless applying only within the States’ borders.
Now, just as DAPA was halted nationwide, the 9th Circuit argued, Trump's executive order should be halted nationwide as well.
It's unclear what legal proceedings the Trump administration will pursue in reaction to the ruling. However, they could potentially appeal the case to the United States Supreme Court.
White House adviser Kellyanne Conway told Fox News following the order:
“It's not just a promise he made as a candidate. It's his duty and responsibility as president of the United States and commander in chief, and in fact, he has broad authority to do that under the statute. This ruling does not affect the merits at all. It is an interim ruling, and we are fully confident that now we will have our day in court[.]”
Just before the ruling, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the ranking member on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, told reporters at House Democrats' annual retreat in Baltimore that the travel ban “plays right into ISIS and al-Qaeda propaganda.”
He also laid out how just about any court decision from the 9th circuit would only be “temporary relief”:
"Part of the order may be upheld, part of it may be struck down. But in any of these circumstances, it’s only gonna be temporary relief because what this ruling will decide is what is the status of the order pending the completion of the litigation. So that litigation in Washington is gonna go on. It’s just a question of is the order gonna be in effect while that litigation goes on or is it not gonna be in effect in whole or in part. So I don’t think even if it goes our way we can breathe much of a sigh of relief. Certainly if it goes the other way, it’ll be the cause of heightened concern and I think that’s the most destructive because really the stay is the status quo and upending that would have the most destructive impact. But in any event, I think nobody can breathe much of a sigh of relief even after this order comes down.”
In addition, former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton offered her comments:
The White House is expected to issue a statement regarding the ruling later Thursday evening.
Joe Perticone contributed to this report from Baltimore.
Editor's Note: This story has been updated.