By Miriam Raftery
February 6, 2017 (San Diego) – The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Saturday refused to halt refugees and citizens from 7 Muslim nations from entering the U.S., CNN reports. The action follows a decision Friday by federal judge James Robart in Washington State that blocked President Donald Trump’s travel ban.
The Appeals Court has asked for briefs from both sides by the close of business today and has already received numerous friends of the court briefs arguing that the ban hurts businesses and states’ economies, also putting U.S. troops and national security at risk.
Trump’s twitter storm: Trump attacked Judge Robart, a conservative appointed by George W. Bush, as a “so-called judge.” He went on to accuse Robart of putting the country in “peril” and suggested people should blame the court if “something happens.” He also tweeted “People pouring in. Bad!”
Sleepless in Seattle: Washington State’s Attorney General has had staff working around the clock. Washington Governor Jay Inslee called Trump’s ban on travel from Muslim countries “religious discrimination in its barest and most obvious form, adding, “It is clearly religiously discriminatory when the president himself said, `We’re going to say Muslims are at the bottom of the barrel, other religions are at the top.’”
Gov. Inslee recalled when Bainbridge Island off Washington was used to detain Japanese-Americans during World War II. “I know from Bainbridge Island what fear can do, and I know that Americans need to stand up against this today, across America.”
Washington’s Attorney General Bob Ferguson has argued the order is illegal and would also cause “irreparable harm to Washington” against the public interest. He called it “executive abuse.”
High-tech companies and others back Washington state: Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, AirBnB, Amazon, Twitter, Uber, Lyft and other major companies filed an amicus brief or friend of the court filing voicing opposition to President Trump’s executive order on immigration on the grounds that it is discriminatory and has a negative impact on their businesses, Tech Crunch reports.
Amazon indicated 49 of its employees were born in the countries from which travel is banned under the order, including a senior Amazon lawyer born in Libya. The company has put a hold on new hires from nations on the list. Expedia says has incurred added business costs due to the ban.
Security officials and diplomats submit brief: A brief arguing that the travel ban “undermines” national security and wil “endanger U.S. troops in the field” has been submitted to the court by former secretaries of state John Kerry and Madeleine Albright, along with former secretary of defense and CIA director Leon Panetta, ex-CIA director John McLaughlin and Susan Rice, Obama’s national security advisor, among others. They warn that what’s putting America at peril is Trump’s order, not refugees and immigrants. The travel ban also stands to disrupt “key counterterrorism, foreign policy and national security partnerships” crucial to obtaining intelligence and could “endanger intelligence sources in the field.”
While all agreed that vetting is important to prevent real threats from terrorists, the national security experts agreed that since Sept. 11, 2001, not a single terrorist act in the U.S. has been perpetrated by aliens from the countries named in the order. “The overwhelming majority of attacks have been committed by U.S. citizens,” they observed.
Justice Dept. to avoid asking Supreme Court to decide case, for now: The Washington Post reports that a Justice Dept. spokesman has said the Trump administration legal team will let the “appeals process play out” rather than ask the Supreme Court to issue an immediate stay.
If the Supreme Court is asked to weigh in, it is far from certain what the outcome would be, with the court split 4-4 down ideological lines and the late Justice Anthony Scalia’s seat still open. Republicans refused to hold hearings on President Barack Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, obstructing filling the vacancy for a full year in an unprecedented action. Now Democrats are working to block Trump’s nominee, Neil Gorsuch.