13 judges to hear revised Trump travel ban case

Angie Massey
May 9, 2017

An appeal in that case will be considered by the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on May 15. The statement, was still online Monday morning, appeared to have been taken down before the hearing.

Judge Robert B. King said the case appears to hinge on whether the court considers Trump's statements or focuses exclusively on the text of the order, which is religiously neutral.

U.S. District Court Judge Theodore Chuang, who ruled against Trump in Maryland, said the Republican's comments are evidence that religion - rather than national security - was the primary motivation for the policy.

Rabbi Michael Knopf of Bend the Arc Jewish Action said on Monday that people were there to assure the Muslim community that they oppose the ban imposed by President Donald Trump's administration and they want to invite all Americans of conscience to join them in saying they oppose any ban any time.

Public interest in the legal challenge is so high that the 4th Circuit took the unusual step of allowing live audio from the courtroom, where Justice Department officials will push back on a refugee assistance group's argument that the ban unconstitutionally targets Muslims. His lawyers say it's inappropriate for the court to rely on statements Trump made as a candidate "before he swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution".

A source familiar with the case told CNN that a typically conservative judge on the court has recused himself from the case. The banned countries represent just a fraction of the predominantly Muslim countries worldwide, they note.

Monday marks the first time the revised travel ban is heard before an appeals court.

David Stras, an associate justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court, and Joan Larsen, a member of the Michigan Supreme Court, will be nominated for positions on the Eighth and Sixth Circuits of the federal appeals court.

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The ACLU and National Immigration Law Center brought the case on behalf of several organizations, as well as people who live in the USA and fear the executive order will prevent them from being reunited with family members from the banned countries.

Meanwhile, a group of 12 state attorneys general and the governor of MS argued that the action is not a "pretext for religious discrimination" and should be allowed to take effect.

"Don't we get to consider what was actually said here and said very explicitly?" asked Judge James Wynn Jr., who was appointed by President Barack Obama. A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will meet next Monday to hear arguments in that case. An "en banc" hearing is only granted when a majority of active judges determine that the proceedings involve a question of "exceptional importance" or to "maintain uniformity of the court's decisions".

Now, nine judges are Democratic appointees and five judges are Republican appointees.

This story has been corrected to reflect that Judge Niemeyer was appointed to the court by President George H.W. Bush, not President Ronald Reagan.

Trump will nominate Joan Larsen, who now serves on Michigan's Supreme Court, to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, and David Stras, a justice on the Minnesota Supreme Court bench, to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis. And even if the court sides with Trump, the travel ban will remain blocked unless the president also wins in another appeals court.

The court in Richmond, Virginia, will examine a ruling that blocks the administration from suspending new visas for citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Other reports by GizPress

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