Washington, Feb 5: A US court has rejected the Justice Department's appeal asking to pause the sweeping decision that temporarily halted enforcement of President Donald Trump's travel ban on citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries.
The Ninth Circuit Court has asked to file legal briefs before it makes a decision, CNN reported. Just after midnight on Sunday, the Justice Department filed an appeal asking the court to put on hold its sweeping decision that temporarily halted enforcement of Trump's travel ban nationwide, saying in a strongly-worded filing that blocking the travel ban "harms the public" and "second-guesses the President's national security judgment".
The legal battle, which now moves up to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, surrounds a Friday ruling issued by US District Court Judge James Robart, who halted the implementation of several key provisions of Trump's executive order. Trump's policy banned foreign nationals from seven Muslim-majority -- Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen -- countries from entering the US for 90 days, suspended all refugee entry to the US for 120 days, and indefinitely suspended entry for Syrian refugees.
The government's emergency motion sets forth a mutli-pronged attack on Robart's decision, emphasising the President's broad authority in the immigration context. "(Robart's ruling) contravenes the considered judgment of Congress that the President should have the unreviewable authority to suspend the admission of any class of aliens," the Justice Department wrote in its appeal.
The department further argued that the parties who filed the lawsuit -- the attorneys general of Washington state and Minnesota -- lack the authority to sue in federal court because their alleged harms are too "speculative". The three judges on the Ninth Circuit who will likely hear the case -- assuming no one has to step aside over any conflicts -- are Judge William Canby, who was appointed by President Jimmy Carter; Richard Clifton, who was appointed by George W. Bush; and Michelle Friedland, a President Barack Obama appointee, CNN said.
When the President was asked at a gala in Florida whether he was confident his administration would prevail in the appeal, Trump replied, "We'll win. For the safety of the country, we'll win." On Saturday, the Department of Homeland Security announced it had suspended "any and all" actions to implement the immigration order and would resume standard inspections of travellers, as it did prior to the signing of the travel ban.