Washington vs Trump: What happens now
Federal judges heard arguments for and against President Trump’s travel ban executive order Tuesday. But no decisions were made in the case of Washington vs Trump. Unlike the sparing attorneys arguing the case, the judges are taking their time to come to a decision which may come later this week.
Washington Solicitor General Noah Purcell went head-to-head against August Flentje, special counsel to the assistant U.S. attorney general. Both Purcell and Flentje argued that they have had little time to prepare their arguments and present evidence when pressed by the judges. The judges, however, didn’t seem to accept that answer from either side.
The hearing was conducted via telephone, with each party on the line. Each side had 30 minutes to argue. But the judges posed their own questions and challenges to the attorneys.
Judge included: Circuit Judge Michelle T. Friedland of San Jose, Calif.; Sr. Circuit Court Judge William C. Canby of Phoenix, Ariz.; and Sr. Circuit Court Judge Richard R. Clifton of Honolulu, Hawaii.
“In 2015 and 2016, both congress and the administration made determinations that these seven countries posed the greatest risk of terrorism,” Flentje said of the seven countries included in the travel ban.
Purcell countered, attempting to poke holes in the president’s executive order and how it was implemented. For example, how initially people were detained at airports before being allowed to enter the country..
“They can’t just say, ‘Well, now we say it doesn’t apply to them so don’t worry about it,'” Purcell said. “That’s half a million people who are in the United States, who overnight, according to the government, initially lost their right to travel, come in and out of the country, visit relatives.”
“It has always been the judicial branch’s role to say what the law is and serve as a check on abuses by the executive branch,” he said.
Washington vs Trump
The State of Washington’s attorney general, Bob Ferguson, brought the case against the president after Trump issued an executive order banning travel from seven predominately Muslim countries. The order also bans refugees, and has been described by critics as a travel ban and a Muslim ban — stemming from Trump’s campaign rhetoric when he said he would like to implement such a Muslim ban. The order itself, however, does not use the word “Muslim.”
Rudy Giuliani, among Trump’s supporters and the president’s campaign inner circle, recently told the press that Trump asked him to find a legal way to implement a Muslim ban. That work led to the executive order currently under scrutiny.
Washington sued Trump over the executive order. The initial court appearance for Washington vs Trump led a district court judge to issue a temporary restraining order on the ban — essentially halting the executive order while legal precedings are underway. This led the case to the next level, to the three judges on Tuesday.
After hearing the arguments Tuesday, the three judges are expected to make a decision later this week.