President Donald Trump’s disdain for the judiciary just got ratcheted up a notch after an appeals court early Sunday refused to grant an emergency Justice Department appeal to reinstate the president’s ban on travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries.
The White House had promised to challenge a Friday ruling by Federal District Court for the Western District of Washington Judge James Robart that imposed a nationwide halt to the president’s Jan. 27 order to block immigrants and refugees from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the U.S.
The Justice Department filed an emergency appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco just after midnight Sunday, arguing that Robart was out of his legal bounds in “second-guessing” the president on immigration, The Washington Post reported.
Judicial second-guessing of the President’s determination that a temporary suspension of entry of certain classes of aliens was necessary at this time to protect national security would constitute an impermissible intrusion on the political branches’ plenary constitutional authority over foreign affairs, national security, and immigration.
Trump, who spent Saturday golfing at the “Winter White House”—his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida—was confident the government’s appeal would prevail, The New York Times reported.
“We’ll win,” Trump boasted. “For the sake of the country, we’ll win.”
But far from winning, Trump is legally on the defensive, having lost two important rulings in a row on his Muslim ban order. That executive order, which caused chaos and outrage around the world and prompted ongoing protests, still faces more than a dozen legal challenges in the United States.
The Ninth Circuit Appeals Court ordered both sides to present more arguments on Monday, and legal experts say the case could wind up before the Supreme Court, which is evenly split between liberal and conservative justices.
Meanwhile, the State Department has reinstated at least 60,000 visas (and possibly up to 100,000) that had been cancelled under the temporary ban, and the Department of Homeland Security has said it will return to its pre-ban protocol. Advocacy groups are urging those left in limbo to travel to the U.S. as soon as possible. The case, by all appearances, is far from over.