Hawaii makes legal argument to continue blocking Trump travel ban
A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals sitting in Seattle heard arguments Monday in Hawaii v. Trump.
Neal Katyal represented the state in the courtroom. He is a professor at Georgetown University Law Center and a former acting Solicitor
General of the United States under President Obama. Katyal asked the court to uphold Hawaii federal judge Derrick Watson’s order issuing a nationwide injunction against the president's second travel ban.
Back on March 6, the revised ban excluded Iraq from the list of Muslim-majority countries whose citizens were temporarily blocked. The ban, which was set to take effect on March 16, barred foreign nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen from entering the United States for 90 days and all refugees for 120 days. The very next day on the 7th, Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin filed the first challenge against the second travel ban.
On March 15, Watson blocked the second travel ban hours before it was set to begin, citing what he called "significant and unrebutted evidence of religious animus" in Trump's campaign statements.
On Monday, Katyal echoed Watson's ruling that Trump had repeatedly spoke of a Muslim ban during the presidential campaign and after.
The Associated Press reports that Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall told the court that "over time, the president clarified that what he was talking about was Islamic terrorist groups and the countries that sponsor or shelter them." The executive order doesn't say anything about religion, and neither the state of Hawaii nor its co-plaintiff, an imam of the Muslim Association of Hawaii who wants his mother-in-law to visit, has standing to sue.
MSNBC Chief Legal Correspondent Ari Melber, reporting via his Twitter account, said Hawaii was successful in its first travel ban "and the game ain't changed, so we should win today."
He quoted Katyal as saying "We wouldn't be standing here if it was just campaign statements alone." Melber thought he was "doing well with these judges, getting in many points, partly because he speaks so fast."
Katyal closed his argument by telling the judges of an internment prosecution that was overturned in part by the very same 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in 1986 pertaining to Hirabayashi v. United States, where back in 1943, the Supreme Court held that the application of curfews against members of a minority group -- in this case, Japanese Americans -- were constitutional when the nation was at war with the country from which that group originated.
Monday's court proceeding mark the second time Trump's efforts to restrict immigration from certain Muslim-majority nations have reached the 9th Circuit. After Trump issued his initial travel ban on a Friday in late January that immediately resulted in travel turmoil at airports and widespread protests, a Seattle judge blocked its enforcement nationwide — a decision that was then unanimously upheld by the three-judge panel.
There is no set timeline for when the panel may issue a ruling after Monday's hearing. The injunction against the travel ban remains in place until the 9th Circuit rules.