CNN breaks down what happened Tuesday evening when three federal judges questioned lawyers from the Justice Department and Washington state on whether to lift a nationwide halt against President Donald Trump’s travel ban in a lawsuit brought by two states and various advocacy groups.
According to CNN:
The telephonic hearing showed moments of drama and tension with members of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals jousting with attorneys over the President’s use of such sweeping executive power, querying over the connection between the seven banned countries and terrorism, and launching into tough questions over where to draw the line for a showing of intentional discrimination.
From the start of the hearing, August Flentje, special counsel to the assistant attorney general at the Justice Department, repeatedly sought to emphasize the government’s position that US District Court Judge James Robart improperly inserted himself into the national security sphere by suspending the President’s executive order last Friday. “This is a traditional national security judgment that is assigned to the political branches and the President and the court’s order immediately altered that,” Flentje argued.
Washington state Attorney General Noah Purcell, representing his state and Minnesota — which are challenging the Trump executive order — was pressed by Judge Canby to explain how the executive order demonstrates a direct intent to discriminate toward Muslims when only a relatively small percentage of Muslims hail from the seven banned countries. “You don’t have to prove it harms every Muslim — you just need to show the action was motivated in part by animus,” Purcell argued.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals says it will rule soon on whether to restore Trump’s travel ban.