Trump’s Judicial Appeal
by Nicholas Taborsky on Friday, February 24th, 2017
On February 9th, Judges Richard Clifton, William Canby, and Michelle T. Friedland from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously decided to continue the block against President Trump’s immigration ban on seven predominantly Muslim countries: Libya, Sudan, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, and Somalia.
This decision was made just six days after U.S. Federal District Judge James L. Robart of Seattle placed a temporary block on President Trump’s executive order. In Judge Robart’s order, he claimed that a preliminary injunction would be “likely to succeed on the merits of the claims that would entitle them to relief” and that President Trump’s order “adversely affects the States’ residents in areas of employment, education, business, family relations, and freedom to travel.”
According to the New York Times, Robart’s ruling garnered a quick response from the Justice Department in the form of an appeal to the 9th Circuit Court stating that the order both “[imposed] irreparable harm on the defendants and the general public” and “[second-guessed] the President’s national security judgement.” President Trump also responded to Robart on Twitter, saying, “the opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!”
The events leading up to the 9th Circuit Court ruling began on February 5th when the Justice Department made an emergency request to remove the block made by Judge Robart and allow the executive order to continue. However, because the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals denied this request, the case was reviewed fully by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, with legal briefs and verbal arguments from both sides.
The case, State of Washington & State of Minnesota v. Donald J. Trump, was argued over the phone on February 7th to a three-judge panel. On February 9th, the judges ruled in favor of the State of Washington & State of Minnesota, meaning the stay on the immigration ban would remain in place. President Trump responded on Twitter, stating, “SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!”
When asked to comment on the ruling and President Trump’s response, Alex Chen (II) said, “I think that the block is completely called for. Americans have to trust the system…While I understand that Trump thinks the executive order on immigration deserves unlimited power, America is not a dictatorship. There are checks and balances, a system that Americans must trust.”
Olayeni Oladipo (III) similarly said, “I am grateful for the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision to block the immigration ban. It’s important to have this body advocating for the civil liberties and rights of immigrants in this country. It’s disheartening that this ban was enacted in the first place, but this system of checks and balances supplies me with an extent of reassurance that power does not lie in one man’s hands.”
Although all this legal wrangling can be confusing, the appeals process is actually quite straightforward. Essentially, according to the United States Courts Government website, appeals cases take the form of an “oral argument” in which there is a “structured discussion between the appellate lawyers and the panel of judges focusing on the legal principles in dispute.” In most cases, the decision made by court is final. However, sometimes the case moves to be later reviewed by a larger panel of judges.
According to The Washington Post, President Trump and White House officials had been looking to either have the 9th Circuit Court rehear the appeal with a larger panel of judges or to make an appeal directly to the Supreme Court. However, President Trump later decided to do away with any further court procedures and instead moved towards writing a revised order on immigration. When asked to comment on President Trump’s decision, Jack Delea (III) said “I don’t support the ban in any way, and I probably won’t support the rewritten order, but I think this situation is a good example of the judicial branch using its power over the executive branch.”
While President Trump’s first month in office has been rocky, those who support him have been buoyed by his call to action. On the other hand, the checks and balances that are placed in our democratic system in order to prevent unconstitutional actions or presidential overreach have strengthened those who do not support him. The coming weeks are going to set Trump’s tone for his next four years in office, as he continues to either fight the judiciary and legislative branches of government or begins to moderate his views and tries to work with them.
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