VOA Tigrigna: Trump US Travel Ban, Interview (Feb 9, 2017)
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The legal battle over Trump’s immigration ban
www.vox.com | February 9, 2017
In a Tuesday hearing over whether to reinstate President Trump’s executive order banning people from seven majority-Muslim countries and nearly all refugees from entering the US, the judges from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals were … skeptical.
“Are you arguing,” asked Judge Michelle Friedland, “that the president’s decision is not reviewable?”
Eventually, Department of Justice lawyer August Flentje conceded: “Uh, yes.”
It’s less extraordinary a claim than it sounds. When it comes to national security, the courts have often deferred: Judges don’t know the risks the country is facing, the argument goes, so they need to defer to the executive branch when national security is at stake.
That logic has historically given the executive branch a ton of leeway when it comes to immigration policy. When it comes to Trump’s ban, that hasn’t been the case.
Practically from the moment the executive order went into effect, federal judges have issued rulings trying to limit its effects. On Friday, federal judge James Robart in the Western District of Washington temporarily froze all enforcement of the order’s key parts: a 90-day ban on all entries to the US from people from seven majority-Muslim countries, and a 120-day ban on nearly all refugees.
The federal government is asking the Ninth Circuit to lift the freeze as quickly as possible; the Ninth Circuit’s ruling, after its Tuesday hearing, is expected in the next few days.
It’s extremely unlikely the government will succeed. At best, the court-imposed freeze will probably be in place for another week or two while Judge Robart decides whether to replace it with an indefinite injunction — an indication that the executive order isn’t likely to pass constitutional muster — or allow the ban to go back into effect.
As Robart and the Ninth Circuit work through the legal questions in the case, they’ll have to make a choice. Trump’s immigration ban may well fit the legal standard we have right now. Does that justify the ban, or does it mean the legal standard should be changed?