Tuesday, June 13, 2017

9th Circuit Upholds Most Of Injunction Against Second Travel Ban Without Reaching Establishment Clause Issue

Yesterday in an 86-page per curiam opinion in State of Hawaii v. Trump, (9th Cir., June 12, 2017), the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld most of the injunction previously issued by an Hawaii federal district court barring enforcement of the major provisions of President Trump's second travel ban Executive Order.  Summarizing its holding the 9th Circuit panel said:
we affirm the injunction as to Section 2(c), suspending entry of nationals from the six designated countries for 90 days; Section 6(a), suspending USRAP for 120 days; and Section 6(b), capping the entry of refugees to 50,000 in the fiscal year 2017.
However the court vacated the injunction to the extent that it prevented the government from conducting inter-agency reviews that do not impact third parties. The court also limited the injunction to government officials other than the President himself.

In its decision, the court did not reach the Establishment Clause arguments. Instead, it relied on statutory grounds:
we conclude that Plaintiffs have shown a likelihood of success on the merits at least as to their arguments that EO2 contravenes the INA by exceeding the President’s authority under § 1182(f), discriminating on the basis of nationality, and disregarding the procedures for setting annual admissions of refugees.
The 3 judges deciding the case were all Clinton appointees. The Justice Department previously asked the Supreme Court to suspend the district court's injunction as the case moves through the entire appellate process.