Next Steps for Trump's Travel Ban

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on April 24, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Last week, United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that he was "amazed that a judge sitting on an island in the Pacific can issue an order" halting President Donald's Trump ban on immigration from six Muslim-majority countries. Despite Sessions' newfound wonder at the concept of judicial review and checks and balances in the federal government (not to mention the vast geographical limits of the country), several courts have found Trump's travel ban unconstitutional, both in its initial iteration in February and its revamped version in March.

Two federal circuit courts have put temporary injunctions in place, prohibiting the federal government from enforcing Trump's "Executive Order Protecting The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States." So when will those reviews happen, and what could happen next?

Ninth Lives

The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has been particularly unkind to Trump's travel ban. In February, perhaps much to Sessions' dismay, the court unanimously held "it is beyond question that the federal judiciary retains the authority to adjudicate constitutional challenges to executive action" when it struck down the first travel ban. And it just so happens that the latest injunction from Hawaii's U.S. District Judge Derek Watson -- whom Sessions voted to the federal bench as a senator -- will again be reviewed by the Ninth Circuit.

There was an appeal to have the case heard by an 11-judge panel (known as "en banc") but it lacked the necessary votes. So three judges from the Ninth Circuit will hear the government's appeal on May 15. After that, it may go to an en banc review in the Ninth and possibly to the Supreme Court after.

Fourth Time's a Charm?

Another judge sitting in the Old Line State on the Atlantic also blocked Trump's travel ban. U.S. District Judge Theodore David Chuang in Maryland found Trump's "history of public statements continues to provide a convincing case that the purpose of the Second Executive Order remains the realization of the long-envisioned Muslim ban."

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear the government's appeal of the Chuang's ruling en banc (with as many as 15 judges) on May 8. Depending on how each case is decided they could both end up in the Supreme Court before long.

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